No matter how devoted you are to your horse, sometimes life interferes. You started college, had a baby, changed jobs, lost a job – any number of things can happen that affect your riding. One option to help unsaddle the burdens of lack of time or money is to find a part-boarder for your horse.

A part-board situation is usually different from a lease. Leasing normally entails the lessee taking on full responsibility for the horse including board, training, showing, vet, and farrier. The lessee can move the horse to another property for the duration of the lease, which usually has a time allotment like one year or six months. A part-boarder is more casual in some respects, often without a time allotment, and the terms can vary.

Here are some tips to finding the perfect part-boarder to share all the great things your horse has to offer.

Know What You Want

Decide how often you want the part-boarder to ride your horse. Once, twice, three times per week? This will decide how much to “charge” the part-boarder by taking the monthly board and dividing it by rides.

Here’s a simple formula. Let’s assume your horse only gets ridden six times per week. This means three times if half-board, twice if third-board, and so on. If the board at your barn is $1,200 a month, then someone half-boarding would pay you $600, while third-boarding is $400. You may also factor in HST, and if the part-boarder will share farrier costs.

Get the Word Out

Finding people who want to part-board isn’t difficult; finding the right person can be harder. There are various Facebook groups such as this one called Horses For Part-Board or Lease in Ontario, which has 11.5k members or Horses in Alberta  which has over 58k members.

You can compose your own ad with photos and video and post it on your personal social media channels, asking friends to share and spread the word. Ask your trainer, as they may have students who are looking, and spread the word to barn mates and other horse-riding friends.

However, be aware that once you start receiving inquiries about your horse you might find that people’s expectations of cost are not what you have in mind. You may want a part-boarder to pay half and ride three times a week ($600/month for a $1200 board bill) but they may offer $200 a month for three rides a week. It’s up to you whether you want or can afford to subsidize someone else’s riding. If time is more the issue for you, this can work, but if you need help financially then it may not.

Waiver & Contract

There are lots of free downloadable and printable options online for a waiver form. Have the person fill it out before they try your horse, which is important to avoid liability should they fall off or have any incident at the barn. Here’s one example.

If you do find a part-boarder, have a contract written up with the terms including financial and riding expectations, as well as termination details should one of you decide it isn’t working. Thirty days’ notice is the norm.


Make no mistake, when someone you don’t know comes to try your horse they are auditioning. It’s more than riding skills here, although that’s obviously key, but you want to ensure this is someone you want to deal with on a regular basis, and you would trust alone with your horse, so a good rapport is important.

First impressions are vital, so listen to your gut when conversing with the potential part-boarder. There are loads of stories out there of part-boarders who renege on paying, leaving owners in the lurch, who steal equipment, or don’t ride as often as they agreed and your horse goes unexercised. Those are bigger issues, but even someone who doesn’t clean your bridle after a ride or doesn’t groom your horse the way you want can cause friction.

Ask them about their riding history, if they’ve ever owned a horse or part-boarded before. Ask about their goals. If the person wants to show all summer at third level dressage, but your 18-year-old gelding can only manage first level, this likely won’t work. Likewise, if they’re a green rider and your horse needs an experienced rider, then it’s not a good match.

Ride your horse for the potential part-boarder and explain how it is accustomed to being ridden. Things like no spurs, light hands, the horse spooks at squirrels, etc., are important tidbits to communicate. Then when the person is in the saddle you can assess how much they listened to your direction and if their style of riding suits your horse.

Different riding styles can adversely affect your equine partner, especially if the animal has already had bad experiences in training. As an example, if you’ve managed to stop your horse from dropping behind the bit by having light hands, and the part-boarder “holds on” through the bridle, you may find your horse relapsing.


If the ride goes well and the part-boarder is interested, you should ask for references from previous coaches or trainers, or other owners or riders who can vouch for the person’s level of skill and responsibility.

Good luck!