As you can already see in my introductory post, I do not own a horse, but I am a -Horse Sharing participant-


This term is one every rider should be familiar with.

 

I had never heard this term myself until late 2011, when my mother allowed me to look for a horse. I did not know that there are people who "share" their horse with others, and that there is opportunity outside of school horses and owning your own. At first, I was surprised to see that owners ask money for this. One would think that an owner would take this as a favor if they didn’t have the time themselves.

 

Before I begin, I must mention:


Something found here could be over or understated, but you can not generalize on this topic! I myself, am a very satisfied Horse Sharing Participant.


In almost all stables now, you can find someone that is open to Horse Sharing. An owner that may work 6 days a week, has long travel distances, or is very sick, can really benifit from someone else caring for, working out, and taking a bit of responsability in their absence. On the other hand, giving someone your lock key and access to all your equipment is not something you want to do with just anybody, and this requires complete confidence in the sharing individual.


In return for enjoyment of the horse, the owner will normally ask for financial assistance with feed, shoeing, vet costs, setup and equipment.


Sometimes you‘ll get lucky and find a great horse with a nice and responsible owner, a great facility with a caring stable community, and a reasonable cost for sharing. However, there are many things that can make Horse Sharing undesirable. For example; If you are asked to pay high amounts of money with very little riding freedom. Or if an owner is very controling and untrusting of the Sharing participant. Again, there is (as with almost everything in life) advantages and disadvantages. Both for horse owner and for the Sharing participant.

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With my experience, I would like to touch base and give you some useful tips on avoiding these –black sheep- horse owners

  • As a Horse Sharing Participant, you have in most cases, very little freedom of choice. The horse may be sold without your knowledge. It can suddenly have a diffreent training direction that your unfamiliar with. You have little influence on the attitude of the horse, no say on who else is riding the horse or rights to voice much opinion on the training methods used.

My tip: Clarify from the start how much freedom you actually have, and find out how the owner treats new proposals. Speak directly to this issue, and be sure to meet the owner before you make a firm and secure commitment!

  • One can not choose their own dream stable, but in a way participants are "forced" to settle into a stable community. Not always, but most owner will not change stables on your account. Often, sharing paricipants are considered outsiders to the stable community, and are not given much consideration.


My advice: Have a thick skin! Always remember: You're just as responsible for the animal as anyone else. And so you should be treated. Try seeking rider friendship in the other Sharing Participants at first, and this may ease your acceptance into the stable community.

  • "Could you clean the stalls for all 3 of my horses today? Can you clean the tack thoroughly, possibly for all 3 horses tomorrow? Would you give up riding tomorrow and clean the stalls again? Could you go grab me the new saddle box from the barn?"

Of course – Stable work walks hand in hand with horses! But keeping and caring for other horses you are not sharing? No Deal. Regularly maintaining the equipment used? Of course! However, you should be able to draw the line and stick by it. Working for the owner once or twice is acceptable for the for enjoying the horse. But every week, No way! Finally, You are paying for this priveledge and enjoyment, so don’t be silly and work for more than it is worth!


My tip: Speak your mind when something is bothering you! It’s about having fun. Try to talk with the owner, and work out problems, so that they are no longer problems and move forward.

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After Sharing several horses now, my –rule of thumb- is:

Don’t make quick decisions!


Of course, you want a companion and back into the stables as soon as you can be. But take your time. Figure out your routine, and how you want to enjoy your time with them. Otherwise it can be very annoying for both parties quite quickly - mostly when you realize that you don’t suit this horse or visa versa, and you have to dissolve the agreement after 2 weeks.
I hope that everyone who is looking for Horse Sharing (horse owners and Sharing participants alike) finds the right relationship! There is nothing better than a good mood going into the barn, because there is someone in whom you rejoice, and you must give little thought to a bad future with.


Best Regards,
Jule

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