Sharing your horse: how to make it work

  • If you’re struggling to find as much time as you’d like for your horse — and you’re looking for some help financially — sharing your horse might be the answer.

    Before beginning your search for a sharer, it is vital to decide what you want from the arrangement — would you be happy for them to compete and how much will you expect them to contribute financially?

    Nicki Strong asked for £90 per calendar month, which she says people found reasonable.

    But Lee warns: “Finances have to be handled carefully to ensure the share doesn’t become a commercial arrangement, which can have implications for things such as insurance.

    “Asking the sharer to pay for specifics like shoes or feed, rather than taking money from them, will avoid this.”

    The details of a horse share will vary in each case, so Nicki advises being clear in your advert — whether it’s online, in a tack shop or through word of mouth — about what you are looking for and what the horse is like.

    Once you have found someone who seems suitable, you need to be happy that both you and your horse will get on with them.

    “An informal chat over a cup of tea can be very revealing and asking them to have a lesson with your instructor is a fantastic idea,” says Lee.

    “It can be hard to be objective about somebody else’s riding — your instructor can give an unbiased opinion.”

    Equine lawyer Jacqui Fulton stresses the importance of a contract: “Without a written agreement, it is one person’s word against the other — this will cost very little compared with a legal dispute.”

    Nicki downloaded the BHS loan agreement and adapted it.

    “You can draw up an agreement yourself and it will be legally binding,” adds Jacqui. “But one drafted by an equine solicitor is more likely to cover all of the required areas.”

    Lee and Nicki agree that a month’s trial is a good idea for both parties, while a month’s notice to end the agreement should allow the owner to make other arrangements.

    In the case that a share goes wrong and the owner believes they are owed money, Jacqui suggests first writing to the sharer. But adds that “ultimately, the owner can take the sharer to the small claims court to recover the unpaid money”.

    Looking for someone to share your horse? Book a horse for share advert on our online classified site from just £15

    Looking for a horse to share? Browse horse shares from Horse & Hound

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (12 September 2013)

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