British Horse Society advises never loan a horse without an agreement
The British Horse Society (BHS) strongly advises horse owners, and those contemplating having a horse on loan or by lease, never to do so without a written agreement. Loaning or leasing a horse often appears to be an attractive solution, both for the owner who may not have enough time to look after the horse but does not want to sell it, and for those looking for a horse without the capital required for initial purchase.
However, such arrangements can be rife with potential problems. Frequently the arrangement is by word of mouth only, and when something goes wrong it can be the animal that ultimately suffers. The BHS advocates that in all cases there should be a written agreement signed by both parties. Although not essential it is advisable to have the agreement written by a solicitor, or at the least viewed by one, with the responsibilities of both parties clearly defined, and be fair and reasonable
Under no circumstances should a horse be put on loan or out to lease if it is suffering any kind of illness or lameness. As with selling a horse it should be sound and fit for the purpose for which it is being loaned or leased. Horse owners considering loaning or leasing their horse need to think through carefully their reasons for doing so and make the decision based on what is best for the horse. It may be that the animal is incurably unsound or elderly and the owner can no longer afford to keep it in which case it may be advisable to discuss with the vet whether humane destruction would be the best option.
The BHS has a series of 'Guide to' welfare leaflets offering advice and guidance on a range of issues involving looking after horses including 'Loaning or Leasing' and is currently re-writing 'Humane Destruction'. For a free copy please send a stamped addressed envelope to: The British Horse Society, Welfare Department, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2XZ quoting the leaflet required.