- Be aware that sharing with a friend or close acquaintance may backfire. “It can be embarrassing if that person turns out to be not quite right,” warns long-time sharer Sue Wright.
- Explore all possibilities. An ad in H&H or on a site such as www.horsesharesuk.co.uk will reach a wide audience if you are having no luck nearer home.
- Put the rules in writing. For guidelines, visit www.bhs.org.uk or try Practical Horse Law by Brenda Gilligan. Petplan’s Equine Horse Handbook states: “If there’s no written agreement, then there’s no agreement.”
- Make your horse’s welfare your priority. Sharer Katie Bright explains: “The owner must put the animal first, even if that means upsetting someone.”
- Communicate regularly — and tackle problems sooner rather than later.
- Overestimate your riding ability when looking for a share in a horse. Being overhorsed can be at best depressing — at worst, it is downright dangerous.
- Lie. If you are looking for a sharer be honest about your horse’s bad habits and foibles as well as his star qualities.
- Meddle. A sharer is entitled to quiet enjoyment of your horse, so resist being possessive, springing too many unannounced visits or spying on your sharer through other yard members.
- Give up too soon. A trial period for both sides will allow any wobbles to settle down.
- Steal the limelight. It’s not fair for you to be competing all the time while your sharer does the dirty work. As Claire Clancy says: “Kate and I both school Louis, so it seems fair to share the competing, too.”
Read Horse & Hound’s exclusive feature on sharing, including comments from H&H forum members on their sharing experiences, in today’s magazine (3 July, ’08)