Loaning - Protecting your horse on loan

Loaning a horse can be too many horse owners sometimes even more important than selling or purchasing. As the loaner, you are taking the risk of putting a potentially valuable horse into the care and training of another person. And there have been a few cases recently of people purporting to be loaning a horse under a false name and then sell the horse without leaving a trace. So making sure you know who you are loaning your horse to is of paramount importance.


The most common dispute for a loaner to be aware of is a disagreement as to what was agreed in terms of who pays for what. If for example a large vet’s bill is incurred, and there is no insurance to cover that bill, there may be a dispute over who pays it. It may be that the loaner is liable for the vet’s bill given that they own the horse, however if it is the loanee who is the client of the veterinary surgery in question, and if the loanee instructed the vet to attend the horse (which is most often the case given that they have day to day control of the horse’s care) the vet may have to pursue the loanee for payment of the bill.

Loan Agreement

This is just one example amongst hundreds of why it is essential that a loan agreement be drawn up before the loan begins. The loan agreement should be in writing and should deal with every element of what has been agreed. It must be signed by both parties and to protect the loaner should deal with the following:-

  • How long the loan period is agreed to last for?
  • Is the loan with a view to buy? If so what is the agreed price?
  • The location at which the horse is to be kept and the loaner’s inspection rights of seeing the horse.
  • Who pays for the horse’s costs of keep, farrier, veterinary fees, competition fees and worming etc?
  • Who undertakes and pays for the horse’s annual vaccinations?
  • Who insures the horse?
  • Does the loaner want to restrict the loanee from certain activities such as hunting or team chasing?
  • Does the horse have any vices or problems, which the loaner should declare?
  • Is tack being loaned with the horse? If so, who insures and maintains it?
  • Can the loaner terminate the loan agreement immediately if they are not happy with the standard of care?

There are invariably other issues that ought to be included within the agreement, which are specific to the particular loan and this is why the ‘one size fits all’ standard form loan agreement is not an ideal option to take when putting a loan agreement together.

An example of a specific requirement which should be included in order to protect the loaner is where the horse being loaned has undergone a hob day operation and specific care requirements must be included within the loan agreement to ensure that the horse is not put at risk.

Another example is where the loaner requires that the horse be attended to by a specific farrier/vet where the horse has specific needs.

It is therefore essential that a loan agreement be prepared, which is tailored to specific needs and which should be signed before the loan period commences.

Top Tips for the Loaner:

  1. Insist upon having references from the loanee to ensure that they are who they say they are and that they have the necessary equestrian experience. There are cases of loan horses going missing, which can be avoided if the loanee is properly checked out. Check the loanee’s home address against official records, check their website if they have one, email address and telephone number. Ask if they have a local vet or referee who can vouch for them.
  2. Always insist that the loanee rides and fully tries the horse before a loan is agreed.
  3. Agree a trial period before the loan commences. That way you can see how the horse is cared for with the loanee to ensure that you are comfortable that the home is what you require for him.
  4. Ensure that either you keep the horse covered in respect of third party liability or that the loanee has done so. As the horse’s owner you are potentially liable for any damage caused by the horse to a third party’s person or property, as is the loanee (as the horse’s keeper), hence it is essential that one or the other has the horse insured.
  5. Do not expect that the horse is being properly cared for just because the loanee says so – take the time to go and see the horse regularly.

For further information on equine law visit

For further information about Horse Insurance options visit or for Rider Insurance visit

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