Leasing a Horse

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

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 Level 1 exhibitors. Back in July 2010, AQHA rolled out a new rule that allowed Level 1 (formerly called “Novice”) competitors to exhibit non-owned and non-leased horses, that rule being Rule SHW145.8. Here’s the gist of the rule:

  • Level 1 exhibitors may participate without a permit on a non-owned horse in Level 1 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 Level 1 competitor. A Level 1 member may apply for up to 10 permits, allowing them to compete with one permit per show on a non-owned horse in Level 1 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 Level 1 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.

22 thoughts on “Leasing a Horse”

  1. Leasing a horse is a good idea. Especially for those might be unable to afford the purchase price of a horse. Especially a good idea for the parent of a child or teenager who might move on to other interest after a short time.

  2. Hello I am considering leasing my AQHA gelding to a teenager who had plans to show her own gelding at AQHA shows but he was tradgicly injured and had to be put down. She and I were wondering if she leases him cam she still show youth amateur or will it mess up her status?

  3. Colleen,
    A horse leased by an Amateur or Youth exhibitor for showing purposes may only be exhibited in Novice Youth or Novice Amateur classes. The main purpose of this rule is for an exhibitor to be able to try out a horse before purchasing. It is also good for practice before you purchase your own horse.

    In order for a horse to be exhibited in Youth or Amateur classes, it must be owned by the exhibitor or an immediate family member per AQHA rules 403 and 404.

    Please feel free to contact AQHA Customer Service at 806-376-4811 Monday-Friday 8-5 CST and a representative will be happy to assist you with any further questions.

    Kayla Randall
    AQHA Customer Service

  4. Can two separate individuals (not related) own and show the same horse i.e., both individuals names being on the registration certificate.

  5. If I lease my horse out to a novice youth, and she shows him in novice youth showmanship, for example, can I still show him at the same show in Amateur showmanship? What about novice amateur showmanship?

  6. Linda,
    All parties involved in the ownership of a horse must be related per AQHA Amateur and Youth rules to exibit the horse. For example: If you purchase a horse in a partnership with a friend, and record the ownership in both of your names you may not exhibit the horse in AQHA Amateur competition and neither can the partner. A horse may be exhibited in the Open Division regardless of ownership, however, any Amateur card holders must follow Amateur rules if they are going to exhibit a horse in the Open Division.

    If you have further questions, contact AQHA Customer Service to speak with me or another AQHA Customer Service Representative at 806-376-4811 Monday-Friday 8-5 CST.

    Kayla Randall
    AQHA Customer Service

  7. Lauren,

    AQHA rules state that a horse cannot be shown in the same class in the same division, therefore, you may exhibit your horse in an Amateur class at the same time a Novice Youth is showing him.

    Kayla Randall
    AQHA Customer Service

  8. I bought a mare from a well known QH ranch, and leased her back to the same ranch for breeding purposes. It was to be a four year lease with a guarantee buy-back at the end. It’s two years into the lease, and the ranch has filed cpt 11 bankruptcy. Also, the lease contract states that I was to be paid $10.00 per year up front for the lease. That was never paid. Can you give me any insight into my options. I don’t know if the mare is currently in foal or not, does that make any difference?

  9. Does the AQHA allow amatures to show a leased horse? What I read is that the only level allowed to compete is the youth and novice. Am I not following this correctly?

  10. Joe,
    Currently, leased horses may only be shown in the novice division. Beginning January 1, 2011, amateur and youth competitors may show a leased horse, provided that the lease is at least 12 months long.

  11. I am currently an amatuer exhibiter, if I lease one of my show horses out which I have bred and halter trained for show purposes at $200 per year, is that considered remuneration under rule 403 and would that then make me ineligibile for amateur membership

  12. What if I’m leasing a horse, but they don’t plan to breed or show? Can I still file it as a show lease, even though she won’t be showing the horse?

  13. I was wondering on average, what is the most common charge that horse ownwers charge others that want to lease their horses? And is there a standard lease agreement available anywhere to download and print?

  14. I am considering leasing my stud to another farm on a breed lease. I can’t find anything about what that should cost for the lessee (I know it is subjective but I can’t even find a starting point), nor any template or specifics as to wordage for a contract. I do plan on requiring insurance, shipping, etc; but what is acceptable for the lease itself since the lessee will have so many other costs related to my stallion? Is there a rule of thumb for a certain amount per mare covered or per month? Other than Rule 225, would any other rules apply?

  15. To Karina……….

    When leasing your Stallion out to another farm.. Generally its an agreement between you n leasor on amount paid.. Usually its a set fee with a limit to how many mares.. That they cover your Stallion with..

  16. i want a horse but i really want it to come to my barn like the horse is really mine. other people are there but i still want to feel like he really is mine. do you let the horses go to other stables or do they have to stay there.

  17. I have a mare with a new born foal. Someone wants to buy the foal and is willing to free lease the mare until the foal is weaned…6 months. Is there a form for that type of lease?

  18. I would like to suggest another situation for leasing which I am using for my AQHA gelding,” I’m Hired For Time” as my health problems have increased over the past 6 years I have owned and lived with my “Buck” I have been searching for a job for him which would keep him busy and happy. Year before last, I met some folks out in Sonora, California who have been operating a Therapeutic Riding Center for over 22 years, when they heard I had a big AQHA gelding who was bored and looking for work they agreed to come from California to Arizona to try him out. They loved him so much that I allowed them to take him back to their ranch for a trial. Later that year I followed him out to Sonora to be near not only my horse, but my daughter and grandchildren. This lease situation has been a blessing for us all. Buck is happy and so productive and I was able to live in a cabin for over the first year to be near him and watch him excel in his training and his new “job” and all my grandchildren who have been able to learn to ride on “Buck” are very happy to have him here near us.
    I urge all seniors with a senior horse( Buck is 15 years old now) to consider a similar type job for your animal, it is a true pleasure to see him respond to a new rider, a senior with alheizmers, a kid with Downs Syndrome or some Vets with PTSD or brain injuries or limb amputations thrive on the motions and movements of the walk or trot of a horse. I feel blessed for the circumstances which put me out in the rain storm talking to the owner of RideAway Center of Sonora, California who told me horses heal many types of patients and she has the documentation and photos to prove this over the now 23 years of experience of helping all types of physical and mental illnesses, several of her students over the years are still coming and they are in to their twenties. I met this past week a young man of 25 who started riding therapy at age 5 years,
    after the doctors had told his parents he would not live past infancy, the parents did not believe them, and worked to get him into regular school and started him on horse therapy before he could walk, now at age 25 he is still going to school, drives around his property in his own quad and remembers every horse and every horse competition he was ever a winner in, which were many. He is articulate, positive and one of the most personable young people I have ever met…all this having lived with the threat of surviving AT, a disease which is a type of cancer of the myeline sheath or nervous system.
    Horses do work miracles and I see it every day.
    Please do an article about the American Quarter Horse, the perfect horse with the perfect temperment for Therapeutic Riding programs.
    Thanks for your attention to this response.
    Barbara Boyd Moore, AQHA Member and Breeder for over 50 years.
    Long Live the Foundation Blood Lines: Wimpy, King, Poco Bueno, and All the
    Great Stallions and Mares who have produced such fabulous horses over the years.

  19. Hi, I’m showing my trainers gelding and am a novice youth competitor. Does my trainers horse have to be in my name for me to show it, or can there just be a lease agreement sent in?

  20. Hi Taylor,

    Horse ownership is not required in Novice classes, meaning you do not have to file a lease agreement if you are solely competing in Novice youth classes. However, if you are also going to be competing in regular youth classes, or at one of the top 10 circuits, you will need to file a lease. To learn more about the top 10 circuits rules and other Novice guidelines, be sure to check out http://www.aqha.com/novice.

    Thank you for your question!

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