The prospect of loaning a horse is exciting but there are a number of important considerations, such as time commitment and finances, which will need to be carefully thought about before deciding to loan. 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.
Loaning can be beneficial for the 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.
Horse owners may find themselves with a horse they have outgrown 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’s future while somebody else takes over the day-to-day work and cost involved in caring for it.
Make sure you take all factors into consideration before loaning your horse out, especially the suitability of the horse as welfare is of the upmost importance. For example, does your horse have a medical condition that needs specialist care or is your horse elderly and going to a companion home? 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. We would always recommend requesting references for prospective loan homes, viewing the loan home and then visiting your horse regularly to check on their health and wellbeing.
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 company 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.
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. 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.
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/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 form correctly, giving you confidence that your interests are protected. A full legal review is not included in this service. The helpline number can be found on 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.
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