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Long term loan...or loan with a view to buy?

31 January 2015
Hi everyone,

I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on the below?

After some excruciating soul-searching, I came to the realisation that I have neither the time nor the skills to help my horse develop her potential; to this purpose, I moved to a very professional yard where it's possible to put your horse on selling livery, but was so worried of losing my mare to an outwardly mentally stable person, who is in fact an inwardly raging lunatic, that I decided to postpone selling and see if I could arrange a loan with a view to buy.

I found a seemingly lovely girl who can't afford to buy her own horse at the minute, and is looking to loan for 1-2 years before buying. She works at the yard where she intends to keep my horse (I've visited it and it looks well kept), and she has come to see my mare, and it's clear that she really knows what she's doing.

This is my worry: I'm not that savvy with regards to horses, so what if she ruins my mare and I end up with an unsellable horse who would require the attention I can't give her?

Is there any way I could include in the loan agreement (the one you can get from the BHS) something that would protect my horse 100%? Perhaps something along the lines of -say- asking the borrower to give £500, which will be returned upon termination of the loan provided the horse is sound or hasn't suffered major injuries?

Thanks in advance for your help- I know I'm a worry wart, but any suggestions or feedback would be very much appreciated

be positive

Well-Known Member
9 July 2011
Loaning is always a risk, potentially for both sides, the loaner could put in 2 years of hard work then get the horse taken back to be sold on for far more than it was worth when they started with it, equally they could take on a well educated sound horse and send it back broken.
I think the first thing is to decide whether she can afford to keep the horse properly, provide the training required, will manage to take it if she moves to a new job, common enough if working with horses and if that happens she must keep you informed.
I would possibly look at a lease arrangement, not common over here but definitely possible to set up, the loaner pays an annual fee as well as the normal running costs, if you set it at £250 per year you could give it back at the end if she doesn't buy or take it off the price if she does.
Then I would insist on full insurance, including LOU if she has a reasonably high value, I would probably take it out myself and have the loaner pay by DD, it will not cover every eventuality but should deal with most scenarios although it will not be cheap.
In all honesty I think if you trust her to take on your horse then you have to trust she will take care of her,go and check regularly and ask for regular updates on her training, have a good contract in place and let her go, there is a risk of it all going wrong , if you keep in close contact that should not happen, then there is not much more you can do to reduce the risks, nothing with horses can be 100% risk free, unless you sell her and move on.
If the money is unimportant then the best scenario would be to set a lowish price that the loaner will find attainable after 2 years so she can keep her and if she is doing really well and you are happy to do so sign her over at an earlier date, if the capital is important then forget loaning and sell now to reduce all risks.
16 February 2009
Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
This sort of arrangement is difficult to get a satisfactory arrangement for.

You as the owner have to really really trust someone 101% to not only look after your horse properly, but also, you are basically asking them to "produce" them during the time they are loaning.

She, for her part, needs to have some assurance that after putting in a lot of work and effort for the duration, has some degree of security that you won't suddenly see how the mare has improved and then put her up for sale!!

Agree with the last para of the above poster's comment: think you will either have to go for one or the other, i.e. sell now and have done, or loan and wait-and-see (with all the risks that may involve).

I think that whatever you do, you need to think hard and long. Not an easy decision!


Well-Known Member
15 April 2013
South Worcestershire
I would only loan a horse that I thought, for one reason or another, I couldn't sell unless it was kept on my yard so I could ensure it was being well looked after. I've known of too many horses that have gone out on loan and been ruined. i did loan out a horse some years ago, but I kept closely in touch, went to see them compete and then sold the horse to my loaner for £1 as I knew he had a good home. If I had a horse I was struggling with but thought would come good with a better rider then I would offer a free share, pay for lessons and competing and it would be kept at home with me. I have done this and found it works well if you find the right person. If I had a horse that didn't suit me, I would sell (even a t a big loss) to the right home.


Well-Known Member
14 November 2010
£500 is less than two months' worth of costs even at the very cheapest, and wouldn't touch the sides of any serious vet claim.

You need to decide if you want to sell. If you do, you are best selling the horse now, even at a lower cost, than having another year or two or worry and the risk that the horse comes back. If this girl wants to buy, It's up to her to find the money and not you to carry the risk.

If you are happy to loan, you can't get away from the issues. You should only loan if you think you want the horse back one day.


Well-Known Member
22 July 2013
Its always a risk. I sent a 4yr old unblemished dressage horse on a 4 week LWVTB to a perfect, experienced home. The horse got kicked and suffered an injury with a permanent scar and the husband, coincidentally became critically ill. The horse was returned and I had to go through the process of selling again which meant more upheaval for her. No one's fault, but I never did it again. I've also loaned a horse which was kept on my yard a couple of times and found that the loaners didn't have the same commitment that an owner has, but then, I sold a cracking cob to a lovely home and bought it back 6 months later when the lady was made redundant and lost her tied cottage.
It's always a gamble even when lovely people take on lovely horses.