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Loaning a horse

Loaning can be beneficial for both a loanee and owner. 

  • Last reviewed: 13th July 2022
BHS Parbold Equestrian Centre 25 BHS Parbold Equestrian Centre 25

For the loanee, it’s a less permanent arrangement than purchasing and it can be a fantastic first step towards having a horse of your own. Loaning a horse removes the initial purchase expense, although it still involves many of the same responsibilities as owning.

Many owners find that loaning is the ideal solution for a pony their children have outgrown and don’t wish to sell, or if they have experienced unforeseen circumstances with a horse of their own. Loaning allows the owner to maintain ultimate control over their horse’s future, while the loanee takes over the day-to-day work and cost involved.

Loaning tips for owners

Loaning your horse may seem like a good solution for you and your horse, but make sure it’s a decision you don’t rush into. Consider all the factors first.


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 really 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 initially judged to be trustworthy, but who have sadly neglected their loan horse. 

Request References

When selecting a prospective loan home always request references from your loanee. This may be from owners they have loaned from previously, or an owner of a horse they have provided care to. Alternatively, you might ask for a reference from a previous employer if they have worked within the equestrian industry, or from their coach or riding centre if the loanee has recent riding experience there.

View the Loan Home

If your horse is moving to a new yard, make sure that you visit the new loan home prior to making any final agreement. Take a really good look around to make sure that the living environment and conditions are suitable for your horse’s requirements. Consider the safety aspects of yard security, stabling and pasture management. Enquire into the daily routine of the yard so you can feel confident that your horse will likely adjust to their new environment without serious issues.

Regular Contact

Once the agreement is in place, keep in frequent contact with the loanee and visit your horse regularly to check on their health and wellbeing. Ensure that the yard manager also has your contact details.

Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance is essential for your loanee as they will be classed as the horse’s keeper, and may therefore be responsible for any damage that the horse causes to a third party’s person and/or property. Ensure that you have seen evidence that this insurance has been taken out by the loanee. BHS Gold membership includes £30 million of public liability insurance cover.

Loaning tips for Loanees

The prospect of loaning a horse is exciting but make sure it’s a decision you don’t rush into just because it feels like less commitment than buying a horse!

Loaning an equine that turns out to be unsuitable or unsafe can be extremely upsetting and will potentially leave you in a difficult situation, so consider all the factors before deciding.

Time Commitment

Caring for a horse properly is time consuming and you may find yourself in difficulties if you’ve underestimated the impact it will have on your weekly schedule and all your other commitments. Find out more about caring for your horse.


Although the initial purchase cost is removed with loaning, the long-term financial commitments are the same: feeding, a targeted worming programme, farrier, dental checks, vaccinations, bedding, forage, public liability insurance, veterinary insurance, livery charges, transport costs, and veterinary fees.

Find the Right Horse

Make a list of all the attributes your ideal horse would have, and the sort of activities you would like to do together, considering your own ability, knowledge and experience.

View and Try the Horse

Before agreeing to a loan, take the time to handle and ride the horse in the sort of scenarios you are likely to regularly encounter. Treat this like the trial of a horse you are viewing to purchase. You may find it useful to think of a list of questions for the owner.


Public Liability Insurance is essential. As a loanee, you are the horse’s keeper and may therefore be responsible for any damage that the horse causes to a third party’s person and/or property. BHS Gold membership includes £30 million of public liability insurance cover.

Unforeseen Circumstances

The global pandemic has shown us that the future is hard to predict. Consider how any unforeseen circumstances, such as unemployment or sudden illness, would impact on your ability to care for and keep your loaned horse.

Loan agreement

Having a loan agreement is an important way of helping to reduce risk and protect all parties involved. The BHS strongly advise that a mutually acceptable written agreement is drawn up - don’t agree to something if you don’t intend to put it into practice. The BHS sample loan agreement can be used as a basic template that you can personalise to your own requirements and circumstances. This is available for anyone to download free of charge, although a donation to our charitable campaigns would be greatly welcomed.

Download BHS loan agreement template

Ensure both parties sign and keep a copy of the agreement. The BHS advise that you have your loan agreement checked by a qualified legal adviser. BHS Gold members can make use of the free of charge BHS legal helpline for guidance and advice on completing the agreement for their specific circumstances.

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 and microchips

The law requires that a passport remains with the horse, so if a loanee moves the horse to a new yard, the loanee must also keep the horse’s passport.

It is also a legal requirement for all equines in Great Britain to be microchipped. Owners should make sure that their horse’s microchip number is correctly registered with their Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO). You can check this by searching the Chip Checker and can find out which PIO manages that horse’s passport. If the microchip number is not found, horse owners need to contact their horse’s PIO.

Owners should also inform the PIO that their horse is going out on loan and retain a photocopy of the passport.

Prospective loanees should not accept any horse on loan 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 in the passport. Check-A-Chip.

See the full list of Passport Issuing Organisations


Horse Passports

Get in touch – we’re here to help

The Horse Care and Welfare Team are here to help and can offer you further advice with any questions you may have. Contact or call on 02476 840517*. You can also contact us via our social media channels.

*Opening times are 8:35am-5pm from Monday to Thursday and 8:35am-3pm on Friday. *Calls may be recorded for monitoring purposes