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Leasing a Horse

March 17, 2014

Get the facts on how to lease an American Quarter Horse.

Reining horse

A showing lease has a one-year minimum and a maximum of three years. (Journal photo)

Lease agreements are designed to protect both the owner and the lessee of the American Quarter Horse, and as a business decision, it’s a very wise one to make.

A horse can be leased, according to the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations, for two purposes: breeding or showing.

Take a look at a few more facts about leasing:

  • A showing lease has a one-year minimum, while a breeding lease has no minimum.
  • A lease has a three-year maximum. If the lease needs to continue on after three years, a new lease will have to be filed. If an AQHA lease authorization form is filed with a beginning date but no ending date, AQHA will automatically end the lease three years from the start date.
  • When you’re completing a lease form, remember to use the proper form. There is a form to lease a horse for breeding purposes and a separate form to lease for showing purposes.
  • For a breeding lease, during the lease term, the lessee or the lessee’s authorized agent signs a breeder’s certificate, stallion breeding report or registration application for leased horses. Meaning, if you lease a mare, you become the breeder and owner of the resulting foal if your lease dates correspond with the conception and foaling dates.
  • Conversely, Rule SHW240.6 states that the neither the lessee or the lessee’s authorized agent, in a showing lease, may sign a breeder’s certificate, stallion breeding report or registration applications for the horse.

AQHA charges members a $20 fee to file a breeding lease and a $30 fee for a showing lease.

More on Showing Leases

 Additional rules stipulate the ability for amateurs and youth to show leased horses.

  •  The lessee must be responsible for expenses associated with the care of the horse, states Rule SHW240.2. Those expenses include boarding, feeding, routine farrier services and routine veterinary services.
  • During the term of the showing lease, only the lessee and the lessee’s immediate family may show the horse. The lessee’s trainer may also show the horse during the term, but only in open events.
  • If a lessee qualifies the horse for and intends to exhibit the horse at an AQHA world show, a showing lease must be in effect and on file with AQHA at the time that the lessee enters the horse into the world show and exhibits the horse at the world show.

Competing with a non-owned horse is a little bit easier on Novice exhibitors. Back in July 2010, AQHA rolled out a new rule that allowed Novice competitors to exhibit non-owned and non-leased horses, that rule being Rule SHW145.8. Here’s the gist of the rule:

  • Novice exhibitors may participate without a permit on a non-owned horse in Novice classes only, save for at the top 10 show circuits. The top 10 circuits are determined by the number of entries in the previous year, and a current list can be viewed at www.aqha.com.
  • For the top 10 circuits, a permit will still be required for a novice competitor. A Novice member may apply for up to 10 permits, allowing them to compete with one permit per show on a non-owned horse in Novice division classes only. Permit applications may be obtained from AQHA prior to the show or filled out at the AQHA show.
  • The owner retains the ability to show the same horse in any class other than the same class at the Novice exhibitor. This option is not available to owners at the top 10 show circuits, where a permit must be completed. Here’s the rule of thumb: If a permit is required at a show, only the exhibitor (and his or her immediate family) may exhibit the horse at that show.

Terminating a Lease

 As mentioned before, a lease will automatically expire after three years. However, if the owner or lessee wish to terminate the lease early, there are two ways to accomplish this.

  • A written notice may be submitted to AQHA; this form must be signed by both the owner and lessee and the termination date must be declared.
  • If a lessee is purchasing the horse, a transfer report that shows the change of ownership from the lessor to lessee will suffice in place of lease termination form.