Loaning A Horse | Information & Loan Agreement

May 2021

Loaning can be beneficial for both the loanee and the owner. Buying a horse or pony can be expensive so many people look to loaning a horse instead as it removes the initial expense but does come with many of the same responsibilities as owning a horse. Loaning is a less permanent arrangement than purchasing and it can be a fantastic first step towards having a horse of your own.


Top Tips for Horse Owners

Whether you have a pony you have outgrown or have experienced unforeseen circumstances, loaning your horse may be the ideal solution if you did not want to sell. Loaning allows the owner to maintain ultimate control over the horse’s future while somebody else takes over the day-to-day work and cost involved in caring for it.

Before loaning your horse there are many important aspects to consider:

Welfare: Does your horse have a medical condition that needs specialist care or is your horse elderly and going to a companion home? If your horse is going out on loan and it involves being moved to a new yard, have you assessed your horse’s quality of life? Is this the right option for your horse? Your horse will be out of your day-to-day control and there have been occasions where horses are loaned to people who were thought to be trustworthy, but the horse sadly ends up in a neglected state.

Request References: When selecting a prospective loan home always request references. This may be from horse owners they have loaned from previously or provided general care and support to. Alternatively, you may turn to a previous employer if they have worked within the industry, or a riding instructor if the loanee is coming from a riding school experience.

View the Loan Home: If your horse is moving to a new yard, we would strongly recommend visiting the new loan home prior to making any final agreement. Ensure you are happy with the living environment, and that the conditions are suitable for your horse and their individual requirements. Consider the safety aspects with regards to yard security, stabling and pasture management. Enquire into the daily routine of the yard so you are confident your horse will adjust to their new environment.

Visit your Horse & Remain in Regular Contact: Once the agreement is in place, visit your horse to check on their health and wellbeing. Keep in regular contact with the loanee and ensure the yard manager has your contact details, so you can be contacted if necessary.

Public Liability Insurance: Public Liability Insurance is essential. The loanee will be classed as the horse’s keeper and may therefore be responsible for any damage that the horse causes to any third party’s person and/or property. Ensure as the horse owner you have seen evidence that this has been taken out by the loanee. Public Liability Insurance up to £30 million is included as one of the benefits of BHS Gold membership (terms and conditions apply).

Passport: See our guidance below on the responsibilities for your horse’s passport.

Loan Agreement: 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. See our advice below on creating a written agreement.



Top Tips for Loanees

Making the decision to loan a horse shouldn’t be taken lightly or rushed into as having a horse that turns out to be unsuitable or unsafe can be extremely upsetting. It can also potentially leave the new loanee in a difficult situation. The prospect of loaning a horse is exciting but there are a number of important considerations, which will need to be carefully thought about before deciding to loan.

Time Commitment: Caring for a horse is time consuming and loanees may find themselves in difficulties because they have underestimated the impact it will have on their time. Find out more about what goes into appropriately caring for your horse.

Finances: Although the initial purchase cost is taken away with loaning, you must consider the long-term financial commitments, such as feeding, targeted worming programme – including testing and treatment if necessary, farrier, dental checks, vaccinations, bedding, hay/haylage, insurance, livery charges and veterinary fees.

Find the Right Horse: Create a list of what your ideal horse would be and the activities you would like to do, considering your own ability, knowledge and experience.

View and Try the Horse: Before agreeing to loan a horse ensure you have handled and ridden the horse in multiple scenarios you will likely encounter. Treat this like the trial of a horse you are viewing to purchase. It is useful to create a list of questions which could include:

  • Would you class the horse as a novice/experienced ride?
  • What is the horse’s temperament like?
  • Has the horse had any injuries/illness?
  • How does the horse behave with other horses, both when ridden and turned out?
  • What is the horse like to load, catch and clip?
  • How does the horse behave with the farrier and the vet?

Insurance: Public Liability Insurance is essential. The loanee will be classed as the horse’s keeper and may therefore be responsible for any damage that the horse causes to any third party’s person and/or property. In the event of an accident, you may also wish to consider personal accident insurance. Both forms of insurance are included as one of the benefits of the BHS Gold membership (terms and conditions apply).

Unforeseen Circumstances: Consider how unforeseen circumstances such as unemployment or illness would impact on your ability to care for and keep the horse.

Passport: See our guidance below on the responsibilities for the horse’s passport.

Loan Agreement: 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. See our advice below on creating a written agreement.

 

caring for your horse


Loan agreement

We strongly advise that a written agreement is drawn up. Make sure the agreement is mutually acceptable; don’t agree to something if you don’t intend to put it into practice or you don’t agree with. Having a loan agreement is an important way of helping to reduce risk and protect the owner, loanee and of course the horse.

  • Alter the template to make it personal to your own requirements/circumstances.
  • Get it checked by a qualified legal adviser. BHS Gold members can make use of the legal helpline for guidance and advice on completing the agreement for their specific circumstances. A full legal review is not included in this service. The helpline number can be found on the back of your membership card.
  • Ensure both parties sign and keep a copy of the agreement.


Breach of agreement

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

However, if you’re a BHS Gold member you can get excellent free advice by calling the legal helpline.

Not a member? To gain access to the legal helpline, as well as a host of other benefits, join the BHS now.


Passports

The law requires that a passport remains with the horse. Therefore, the passport must be kept by the person who has primary care for the horse if it isn’t the owner. When a horse goes out on loan and is moved to a new yard, the loanee must have the original passport. Many owners feel uncomfortable about doing this but there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself which include:

  • Retaining a photocopy of the passport
  • Ensuring that the horse is microchipped, and this is registered with the organisation who issued the passport
  • Inform the passport issuing organisation that your horse is going out on loan.

If you are looking to take a horse on loan, you should not accept any horse that is not accompanied by a valid and up-to-date passport. Check that the name of the owner you are loaning the horse from is the current registered owner.

Passports 

 

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Buying a Horse

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