Horse tails (Part Three)

In this latest in his series of blogs on the subject of equine law solicitor Andrew Carrier analyses a typical agreement for the loan of a horse.

The British Horse Society (BHS) does vital work in the equine industry campaigning on equestrian issues, offering equestrian qualifications and approvals, providing welfare services to horses and advice to owners. If you are looking for a template for a loan agreement you will find a good one on the BHS website from this link Sample Loan Agreement.

Before you look at your template and adapt it for your circumstances the owner (who I will refer to mostly as ‘lender’) and borrower should think about the practical issues involved in the loan arrangement and agree the key points.

1. Finding the right horse for loan is probably harder than finding one to buy. My daughter has an 17 year old pony on loan for nearly two years now but we only found him by a chance meeting with the owner and we had to wait a year for the owner’s 13 year old daughter to decide she was ready to give up the ride for a larger horse. Neither party should rush into an arrangement, just because it is temporary, especially where children are involved!

2. Identification of the horse is vitally important so the lender will need to provide the borrower with all records including passport, microchip and freeze mark records.

3. The health and condition of the horse is important for both parties, both at the outset of and during the loan period, and so you might want to consider getting the horse vetted but certainly the owner should be willing to discuss any previous health issues or injuries that the borrower will need to bear in mind.

4. Insurance is not everyone’s favourite topic but dealing with the death or injury of a horse can be costly and, having agreed who will be responsible for any such costs, it makes sense to discuss whether insurance is appropriate.

5. Identification of the parties to the loan agreement is also vitally important when the parties don’t know one another. Neither party should be embarrassed to ask the other for identification, in the form of a passport or photo driving licence and other evidence of home address, so that the right parties sign the loan agreement and so that the borrower can tie in ownership details from the horse’s passport. The lender might also want to take up references for the borrower.

6. The period of the loan may be open-ended but a loan does not involve a change of ownership and is therefore not permanent and so you will need to give some thought to the circumstances in which the loan may come to an end, what notice will be given and who will be responsible for transporting the horse back to the owner when the loan period ends. The owner will want to make sure that any notice period is sufficient to make arrangements for housing the horse on return.

7. Everyone who rides loves to collect equipment but often the owner will have a saddle fitted to the horse and a tried and tested bit and bridle and so the parties should discuss what equipment will be provided with the horse that must be used and the owner might consider making it a requirement that the borrower has a saddle-fit periodically (as well as the usual visits from the farrier and the vet).

8. Finally don’t forget to consider whether the borrower should be limited in what they can use the horse for or any use that is not permitted. As borrower don’t assume that because the horse has been a hunter that the lender would be happy for the horse to be used for hunting. Once you have agreed on all of the ingredients for your loan arrangement then take a look at your chosen template and adapt it accordingly. We are here to help if you are uncertain about the terms to be included in your loan agreement and also if a dispute arises during the loan period.

Andrew Carrier is a solicitor in the commercial department of our King’s Lynn office. Andrew has over 16 years of experience as a commercial solicitor.

by Andrew Carrier from the King’s Lynn office