Some years ago, I was looking for a horse to have on loan. I’d ridden as a child but hadn’t owned a horse since I was a teenager, so thought having one on loan would be a good reintroduction. I found a cracking little cob who was nice and steady, but needed a bit of work to get him going. I thought he’d be perfect.
However, the cob was a weaver and windsucker and the yard where I planned to keep him was a showing yard. Because it was thought the show horses would copy the weaving, I couldn’t keep him there.
If you’re the loaner, it’s worth clarifying where the horse is to be kept, how long the loan is to last, what the loanee is entitled to do with the horse, and who pays for what. As the loanee, be absolutely honest about your riding ability and what you expect to do with the loaned horse, say where you will keep it, and ask exactly what your responsibilities will be.
For the sake of both parties, a legally binding contract is vital — both for your own protection, and that of the horse. The contract should cover the length of the loan and who is responsible for such things as vet and farrier bills. Having a contract or loan agreement is an important way of helping to reduce risk and protect the owner, loaner and, of course, the horse.
There are horror stories of people who have loaned their horses in good faith, only to find out that the loanee has sold the horse on, with no way then of tracing it. A contract will protect you from this scenario — without it, it is your word against theirs that you did not gift the horse to them.