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Buying and Loaning Horses

While horses are wonderful animals to own, they also come with a lot of responsibility. So if you’re thinking about buying or loaning a horse, it’s worth getting as much good advice as you can before you make that big decision.

Horses need a lot of your time and dedication, as well as your love and care. Owning and caring for a horse can also prove quite expensive with routine feed, livery fees, bedding,  equipment,  vaccinations and dentist checks to name a few. There’s also the possibility of emergency vet care to prepare for.

You’ll find details of all decisions to consider about buying or loaning a horse in our free advice guide, from finding the right horse for you to what is involved in the general everyday care of the new addition to your family. If you do decide it’s right for you, and that you can make the necessary commitment, you will have one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in your life and a wonderful new best friend.

It is a legal requirement that all horses, ponies, donkeys and mules have a passport. Our dedicated team is on hand to provide more advice on how to make sure you’re within the law.

We also have a wide range of world-class equestrian qualifications suitable for every level of horse owner and carer - so if you feel like brushing up on your practical skills or learning more about horse care, take a look at what it could do for you.

Considering loaning a horse?

Buying a horse or pony is an expensive business so many people look to loaning a horse instead as it removes the initial capital expense.

Although a horse on loan should be cared for as well as if it belonged to the loaner, it’s a less permanent arrangement than purchasing and it can be a fantastic first step towards having a horse of your own.

On the other hand, horse owners may find themselves with a horse they have outgrown or can no longer care for but which they don’t want to sell. In these situations, loaning may be the ideal solution as it allows the owner to maintain ultimate control over the horse while somebody else takes over the day-to-day work and expense involved in caring for it.

For any loan to work well, both parties involved need to agree on their responsibilities and ensure that all eventualities are planned for, particularly what will happen if the loan comes to an end unexpectedly.

The BHS very strongly recommends that a written and signed (by both parties) agreement is in place before the loan begins.  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.

You should also seek references if you are loaning your horse to someone you don’t know.

Drawing up a loan agreement

•    Use the BHS sample loan agreement as a template
•    Alter the template to make it personal to your own requirements
•    Get it checked by a qualified legal adviser. BHS Gold members can call the legal helpline (the number is on the reverse of your membership card)
•    Ensure both parties sign and keep a copy of the agreement.

As ever, the welfare of your horse is of the utmost importance.

Breach of contract

If you need advice regarding a breach of contract, whether this is a contract of sale or loan agreement, this is classed as a civil matter and professional legal advice needs to be sought. Unfortunately, the BHS cannot help to resolve civil matters.

However, if you’re a BHS Gold member you can get excellent free advice by calling the legal helpline using the number on the back of your membership card. Not a member? To gain access to the legal helpline, as well as a host of other benefits, join the BHS now.

Responsible Rehoming

Equine charities are bursting at the seams and rehoming a rescue pony can be another option to buying or loaning your own. The horse or pony will have been professionally backed (if suitable for backing) and have had thorough training before an organisation would consider it suitable to be rehomed.

You also get ongoing support from the organisation and the option to return the horse if it is unsuitable or your circumstances change.

You could give a rescue pony the life it deserves after a potentially unhappy start. The National Equine Welfare Council has a list of many of the charities that offer rehoming. Find more information in our Responsible Rehoming leaflet.

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