Sharing horses - things to consider and tips to find the right horse

Many of us find ourselves in the position where we would love to have our own horse, but sometimes finances, time, our jobs or other things may get in the way. One of the perfect solutions here is to share or loan a horse or pony. This can be a very flexible way to have all the excitement of your own without the responsibility of it full time. It can also provide valuable help and support to the owner.
.
.
Lots of us will have started out having lessons at a local riding school and progressing there. This is amazing for teaching us the ability to be able to get on horses of all shapes and sizes, with a range of quirks and be able to ride. But there is something really special about building a one-to-one bond with a horse, and with sharing comes the possibility of competing, endlessly long hacks, and some other parts of horse care that might not be possible when just having lessons (think bathing and grooming, hand grazing, feeding - lots of bonding opportunities). It can also provide a cost saving in some cases, as you might not always be paying for an instructor to come and teach you. 
.
So how do you get started? 
.
There are a few places you can look for a share, there are lots of facebook communities which can be a great place to start. If you are in a group like this, you can write a post introducing yourself, explain exactly what you are looking for (how many days, what you’d like to do with the horse, if you are able to contribute financially), and share some of your experience highlights (e.g been riding ten years, can jump confidently around a course of 1m etc), so that the owners can get an idea about you. Remember - their horse is often their pride and joy so if you start speaking to someone be prepared to give them lots of information about your experience. Add pictures or videos to your post to give it some attention, and so people can see you ride! Sometimes, owners will post adverts looking for a sharer too, so you will have lots of information from them to see if they might be suitable for you. You can also look through google, or sites such as horsemart or preloved. Search for ‘Horses for loan in your area’ and lots of pages should pop up. 
.
.
A few things to consider
.
Once you’ve found a horse you might be interested in, be realistic about what you can commit to in terms of how many days, how much you can pay etc. We’ve always found it better to increase days rather than to decrease as you don’t want to have a conversation down the line where you have overcommitted yourself where you can help it! 
.
Speak to the owner about your intentions, how many days you plan to school, hack, jump the horse, and if you would like to have lessons, compete etc. Be open and honest with each other from the beginning to avoid issues cropping up and so that you are both on the same page.
.
We recommend that you try and replicate the owner's routine as much as possible. Do they tie up on the yard to tack-up, rather than in the stable? Can you share the same instructor? The more you can match and be consistent, the easier this is for the horse to settle with the new rider, and for you to succeed!
.
.
Personally, at DVR, lots of the team have shared horses, and had the best time creating memories with these horses. A share can last for many years, and for owners it’s a great way of helping keep the horses fit, and often sharing the costs of having a horse. Some of our DVR highlights from sharing horses of the years include hunting, beach rides, sponsored rides, competing at Hickstead and some local competitions. 
.
Let us know some of your best horsey memories from your shares - send an email to marketing@dvrequestrian.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!