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Many people loan out horses on such an informal basis that, should something go wrong, it can be difficult to put right. This is where loan agreements come in.

A loan agreement should include:

  • Statement of ownership – the animal is to remain the property of the owner
  • Duration of loan
  • Review date
  • Notice required if cancelling agreement
  • Insurance policy details – both parties should have adequate Third Party (legal liability) cover. The owner should take out a policy to cover the horse or pony plus tack, but the lessee may reimburse the premium. If a loan horse may be ridden, there should also be adequate Personal Accident cover
  • Tack – items included in the loan; what they may be used for, who is responsible for repair
  • Use of horse – limited or unlimited use(this should be in line with the insurance cover). May include or specifically exclude certain activities. If the animal is leased to a commercial establishment, will it be used for hire/reward?
  • Rider – who will be the rider?
  • Veterinary surgeon – the owner may wish to specify the name of a vet, although the loaner is responsible for “running costs”. The owner must be informed in advance of major surgery or total anaesthetic
  • Farrier – is the horse to be shod? Are special shoes required or a particular farrier to be used?
  • Owner’s specifications for feed, stabling, fencing and grazing – must the horse be stabled in winter?
  • Special conditions – any vices, allergies should be clearly stated, along with names of feed supplements or medication that must be administered
  • Rights of the owner to visit – frequency of visits; owner should be advised of any change in management or where the horseis to be kept

The British Horse Society publishes a leaflet on loaning, which includes a sample agreement. This also available online at www.bhs.org.uk under welfare leaflets.

Equine Legal has recently developed a software package, which enables owners to produce a bespoke agreement to suit their specific circumstances. For more details contact (tel: 01494 582083)

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