View Full Version : What is the fine line between paying for a ride, getting paid for it or getting it for "free"?

3rd June 2010, 09:24 PM
Hi all :)
The title says it all really.
I've just been asked the million pound question which I guess most people who loan horses have been asked by non-horsey folk. My mum turned around and said "Why do you pay to ride someone else's horse and look after it when you're doing them a favour because they can't themselves?"

Of course I didn't have the time nor the patience to go through how much of a bargain my loan is compared to full horse owning, and how much cost is involved in owning horses alone. But then I started to think.

I have a friend who rides and looks after people's horses for free, because she has contacts and friends in high places.

Additionally I have a friend who gets paid to ride horses. Her mum owns a riding school, so I guess she has her mums contacts.

Before I got my part-loan I had advertised as a rider looking for a ride/something to look after. I hadn't stated what I would pay (not to sound cheeky) but simply because some people may be inclined to wanting someone to ride/look after their horse the occasional time and not in it for the money, more for the skills, which suited me as I'm busy with my A-levels.

However, it made me think, what is the fine line between a rider getting paid, getting it for free or paying the usual loan/riding lesson fee? Is it just contacts or is it purely talent?

I'm interested to hear from anyone who does get paid/does not pay to ride/look after horses :)

Also, for the record, I'm just curious, I'm totally 100% happy with my part-loan! :D

Zeitgeist Mom
3rd June 2010, 09:33 PM
I think it all boils down to who's benefitting/wants it more. If someone really NEEDS someone to ride their horse, they may have to pay some lucky person to ride their horse. Whereas some less lucky person, desperate to ride may be lacking the contacts to get a free ride.

I have to say I think it is down to getting out there, making contacts and making it known you are looking for free rides. But then you can't be too picky about what you get offered.

I was lucky when I first came to Scotland, I replied to an ad in the paper from someone needing a rider for her horse. She was a really super girl, with a lovely horse who I could ride as often or as little as I liked for no charge. Very, very lucky.

Since being horseless with my whole Kita saga I have been offered several free rides. One, my neighbour's excruciatingly slow Highland, two, an unbacked stubborn natured spoilt arab, three a supposedly 'mad' chestnut arab mare. Have to confess I didn't go for any of those. But I have had a few free rides recently hacking out with Kita's trainer when she needed to take youngsters out on their first hacks, that has been really good!

vels mum
3rd June 2010, 09:37 PM
My friend has been offered the chance to exercise a TB for a girl who has just had an operation on her hand, horse owner wanted 30 a week (which is the horses full livery cost!) in return for my friend getting the use of the horse.
I found this very steep and friend has decided against it, thankfully!

4th June 2010, 12:02 PM
Over the years, I have had various arrangements with riders for my horses and ponies. Some have worked out well, others not so well - i.e. one veterinary nurse, when out of sight supposedly on a hack, allowed her too heavy, novice boyfriend to ride my very light, sensitive and forward going little mare, with predictable results!

Depending upon what a rider wished to do - e.g. compete regularly or just hack out occasionally - would be what I would base any charges on. One regular rider used only to pay for the horse's shoes and her competition entry fees and the horsebox costs to events, if required. I paid for all other costs such as feed, insurance etc. She also helped out with care and would cover feeding etc. for me if I was away. That arrangement worked well, and until the horse reached an age when a lot of work or competitions were not really an option, as he was 'over the hill'. ;)

At present, I am trying to find something like two competent, responsible adult friends - one 8 stone or under, or perhaps a mother and lightweight, teenager to ride and generally help with my two, or even just a lightweight, competent and responsible rider for my little Sec. C type, cobby, 12.2hh, 4 yo, who is recently backed and ready to be ridden away. The other horse is a 15hh old chap in his mid twenties but sound and up to sensible hacking.

I honestly thought it would be a great opportunity for a couple of sensible friends to ride around on the lovely off-road tracks we have adjacent to the stables, and to enjoy the horse and the pony (his companion) but it is proving almost impossible to find the sort of riders I'm looking for. Youngsters - yes, but the type that largely need supervising, lack experience, and don't seem to have the sort of dedication to horses that I recall from my youth.

Were someone to appear capable of bringing on the little pony, I'd have no objection to them taking her to shows and things like PC - virtually treating her as their own pony, and only covering shoeing costs and the extra competitive element of her insurance, but the only offer I have had re. her, is from someone wanting to take her to their local riding school on loan and part livery! As she is my old horse's companion pony, that rather defeats the object, so the result is that I have a super, young pony with lots of potential doing little more than keeping an old horse happy, getting fat, and scratching his back in the field! I cannot afford to pay someone to ride her, and the old horse is of an age where he's as happy in semi-retirement, as he would be if in light work, so a rider isn't essential - but he could still be enjoyed to the benefit of a rider wanting that opportunity, and without it costing them anything.

As for would I personally pay to ride someone else's horse... Well, IF I didn't have my old horse, I might well consider advertising a stable and grazing at a reduced price to someone with a sensible cob type, and in return for allowing me the occasional quiet hack on the horse - or offer the same stable/grazing at a normal livery price to such a horse's owner, and offer to exercise it on occasions at no extra charge.

4th June 2010, 01:16 PM
I have found that the chances of being able to ride for free or even be paid to ride go up the more that you become involved and known in the horse world and certainly the better the rider that you are. One of my friends is paid to exercise and school and has to turn people down she is so in demand. It has become work to her and not particularly, or at least not always, a source of enjoyment/relaxation.

I ride and help with the care of Maguire and sometimes also Mojo, they are both owned by a lovely person and she basically lets me treat Mags as if he were my own. I can come and go as I please, ride as much as I like and she doesn't ride him at all, so he was 'all mine'. I guess the difference between this and a part loan is that she is not looking for any kind of financial contribution, she just wanted someone to give Mags some individual attention and love. It has worked out brilliantly for me.

I am not that good a rider, but I think I am a good 'sharer' (if you describe what I do as that) because I am responsible, trustworthy and patient. I know that the owner trusts me with the horses, she knows I will never abuse that trust. I have saw a few other sharers come and go at my yard and often they are brash, over confident and have not been honest about their own abilities. But then I am also really lucky as I can't imagine a better owner than the one I have!

So yeah..where is this line?

To be paid to ride, I think you need to be a good rider who is known in the area or at least have references to back you up. You have to treat it as a job and if you are paid to school, you are actually improving the horse, if you are paid to hack, you are getting the horse out and about and fit.

To do what I do, I think is the best scenario, but to get that you need to be a bit lucky and often also sometimes know 'the right person'. So maybe someone has a friend who offers you the ride before it is advertised or something like that. I have found since being with Mags that even though I am not, as I said, a brilliant rider, other rides have been offered to me, I have never went for them though as I am so happy where I am.

To pay to part loan, well this can still be a great deal as you have the benefits of your 'own' horse for far less than it would cost you to own. Its also a great start to get experience and make contacts who you may get 'free rides' from in the future, ha!

4th June 2010, 01:53 PM
I couldn't agree with Susan more! I am in almost exactly the same position, only difference is that I make a small contribution to the livery costs but for that I get to treat Zebedee as my own and I now have access to ride their other horse whenever I like as well.

I also have the opportunity to ride most of the other horses at the yard too as the owners see me as a more experienced rider and they all trust me. Never thought I'd ever been seen as more experienced than anyone else but I've worked hard and paid a lot of money for lessons over the last few years and it's now paying off. :D

4th June 2010, 02:07 PM
Beth I pay to share her - but I share with another person - not her owner and she is "mine" on my days" and I have been told to treat her as such, so if I want a friend to ride her, or to put my OH on her thats OK (although I always check with her owner before letting anyone lose on her anyway) - Beth teaches me a lot, I am very new to horses and I have learnt more in my 6 months of riding Beth than I did in my 7/8 months of lessons previously. She is very well schooled and looks after me. We came 3rd in my first dressage test and that is more to do with her than me!

Her owner and other sharer are also great as they teach me things as we go along (day to day stuff as well as riding things). I am more than happy to pay for that as I am getting taught about horse care, illnesses, how to be a better rider etc.

Brennan I ride in exchange for mucking out and then pay a reduced rate on my jumping lessons and get free group lessons. He is owned by a lady who lives abroad and is on working livery at my yard, however not many people like him (he is a 17.2 gentle giant) as he has a few bad habits and can be very strong or very lazy depending on his mood. I love him - he is a real challenge for me as I have to work really hard on occasions to get him to do what I want, but it makes me think about asking for things the right way. He is a bit unfit at the moment, so its a win-win situation all round, the yard gets him excercised and mucked out, groomed, spoilt and cuddled, he gets the TLC and 1-2-1 care he desperately wants (he loves to cuddle) along with some basic lessons in manners and I get something safe and genuine to learn to jump on along with free flatwork lessons!

4th June 2010, 02:18 PM
I have a new 'groom' 'loaner' 'sharer' what ever you want to call her.

Troy had a lovely man looking after him 2 days a week for 'free' as it helped me out with work load and stuff.

He has now given up as his work load has increased so I have a lovely lady who adores Troy who mucks out, rides etc once a week to give me a break. I don't charge her as she is doing me a favour as I get a day off horses.

4th June 2010, 02:25 PM
I have got a lady who comes to ride Amy 3 times a week, she is one of the mums at school and is tiny so perfect for Amy, as she is doing me a huge favour I wont charge her anything but at the same time as i'm looking for something to ride myself I would be happy to contribute as i'm really wanting to get back into riding.

4th June 2010, 10:06 PM
I have someone come and ride Danser. She tries to get over twice a week but can't always get. She helps me out with Charlie aswell. I would never charge someone to ride her as i need someone to ride out with when Charlie is ready.
I used to ride for someone when i was a kid. I never paid anything but i helped out to do all the stable chores in return for riding.

6th June 2010, 12:18 PM
This is an interesting question and I think it all comes down to contacts.

When I was a child I used to work at the local riding school and from there took on one of the riding instructor's horses on part loan. From there I gained experience and as he wasn't the easiest of rides I made a name for myself and started getting approached to ride other people's horses. I eventually ended up being the rider that schooled all the naughty school ponies and small privately owned ones. I did however keep up my loan horse as I loved him to bits.

When I went to uni I didn't have much money so I couldn't afford to buy however one of the ladies knew a lady where I was at uni that needed a problem horse broken in. I took him on and managed to back him in 6 months and was paid petrol money and pocket money for my trouble. From here I ended up having other horses in the area to ride.

I now own my horse and where I work away from home for 3 months I now want someone to ride him. I did look into loaning however I found that if the people have the money they don't have the skills. So I would not pay someone to ride Baron as I have my Mum ride him 2-3 times a week and I can put him on the horse walker if need be however for the right rider they can have him when they want and do what they want (for no stable chores as he is on full livery) but I maintain ownership and when I come home he is mine. I am still looking into this but as an owner I would not pay someone to ride my horse, if I would I think I would ask my riding instructor to do it.

7th June 2010, 11:11 AM
Interesting question. It is down to the individuals to what they want.
Some people can not afford to buy their own horse so by loaning or sharing they get the benefits of having a horse for getting experience etc and being able to give the horse back after. A friend of mine, her horse got wrote off by the vets for over a year so she is on holiday in Wales now so she has loaned a horse for that year so she does not lose out on her riding etc but at the end of the year can give the horse back to get her one back and into work.
For me I have a horse but I do not want to be tied to riding every day anymore. I tried to sell and loan him but to no luck so now I am looking for a sharer to help me with the costs and to keep him fit.
If I had to pay someone to ride him then I would only pay my instructor for the experience of schooling him.
But like people say it is down to what people are looking for or after. I personally would love to see my horse move on to a nice home and then I would look into sharing so I can still enjoy riding but not have the responibility as having a horse can be a life long commitment especially when you can not move them on.

7th June 2010, 09:52 PM
I tried sharing my horse but found that he didn't have any respect for the girl I shared him with. We also had different ideas about how a horse should be schooled. I stayed with both of them for the first 3 weekends she shared him. On the 4th weekend I stepped back but stayed on the yard only to be told by someone else that she was just cantering him round and round the school. As I walked over to the school she was starting to have problems and told me he was very naughty, I asked her if he had taken off with her and she answered no so I replied that she had just learnt how to make my usually sensible tb hot.

I had him on full loan before I bought him and his previous owner did allow me to move him to a yard closer to me but I did keep in very close contact with her and she came over frequently to ride him. So I have seen both sides and it can work if you both can agree how the horse will be cared and ridden.

7th June 2010, 09:57 PM
I meant to add that my sharer paid 80 a month which I thought was very generous but the downside was that she taught him he could do what he wanted with her. So every Monday I had to correct him constantly. Definately not fun for either of us.

14th June 2010, 03:12 PM
I think that often horses that you can get paid to ride are sometimes naughty horses or horses the owner can't handle, and they want them 're-schooled' for them. i used to get my instructor to ride Boysie, instead of a lesson but for the same price, to improve his flatwork.
i also got him to ride boysie out on the roads when he started 'looking' at things, to make boysie confident in his rider again.
usually to be paid to ride there must be a purpose to the riding being done!

14th June 2010, 03:16 PM
Im in a super random place with my paying to be ridden, if i ride one at work then i just get my general wage which is quite low and i might ride or work four in a day, if i ride one away from work then its 20

i wouldnt pay anyone to ride my horse really as i am happy to do it myself and feel i have the knowledge and skill to bring him on, my boss who is also my trainer actually does not want to ride him for me to get him going as i should be doing it myself, at the stage he is at the moment i can do it myself if he gets to a stage where i am unable to, then i may seek someone out to ride him a bit for me,

i will probably have a friend compete kizzie for me as she is too small for me really and we look silly, so i have a friend who rides a few of the ponies at work who is about 5ft and she will possibly take her out a few time