Gem had all of last week as a nice vacation. I haven't been feeling very well (just a lot of congestion and very tired) and the thought of saddling up in the dark wasn't very appealing. With Thanksgiving this week and W's 1st birthday (yay!!!) the day after I didn't want to push things. Also, I am waiting for her new girth to arrive. We did manage to get out to the barn yesterday afternoon to pick some fresh spinach, curly mustard greens, turnip greens and broccoli (as well as scoring a jar of home made pickles, yum) and as we drove past we saw the gang all asleep in the field in the sun. Such a hard life! Pete and the two mares were curled up looking super cute. Gem figured if you are going to do it you may as well go all the way and she was flat out on her side snoring. Poor thing is so over worked!! It was 1:30 in the afternoon. I do love seeing that though as it shows that they are comfortable and happy where they are.
I was sad to miss the hunter pace yesterday and had even debated actually going. It is only 20 minutes away from us, so it was a shame to miss it. But it was a chilly morning and I wasn't feeling all that well. It was better to skip it then put in a bad showing and have a bad experience for Gem. The society posted the dates through May which is super exciting. Mostly they are in the same places as the fall, but I am hoping on different trails or at least a different route. Since we have missed some, I am hoping to go the those ones in the spring. Of course the one venue I have been really wanting to hit (Biltmore) is on my b-day in April and we will be in PA visiting family that weekend. Sigh. Such is life. Maybe next fall.
But....again that has nothing to do with the title of this post. This is about leasing.
While I was off riding last weekend on the trails the thought hit me that I may need some help in conditioning Gemmie. In an ideal situation I would do all her conditioning and we would become super well bonded and rainbows would appear as we head off to our first 50 miler together. But... I'm not in the ideal situation for this to occur. I work full time and have an almost 1 year old son. I ride in the evenings and one weekend day. I'm not complaining. I know I am blessed to even have the opportunity to ride that much. I love having Gem and am lucky to do so.
With it getting dark so early I can't get to any trails even if I had easy access to them except on the weekends. Its just not safe to be off riding in the pitch black all alone. During an endurance ride you have others on the trail, people waiting for you back in camp and glow sticks marking your way. Not so much when you are on your own trails in the dark on a random weeknight. I just can't wrap my head around the thought of getting her 50 mile fit by riding in an arena 2 nights and then on the trails 1 day a week. If she could get out on the trails at least 1 other day it would be much better.
And that is when the thought of finding someone to lease her hit me. If I could find an experienced rider who is in need of a horse to ride, then that person could ride 2-3 days a week (hopefully during day light hours) and get more miles on my Gemmie. Especially on the trails. Seems perfect!
But....its not so easy. My mind then went into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities. Should I ask for money? Most people pay to ride a horse. It makes it more official. Plus it accounts for wear and tear. Ok. How much? I have no clue. I only pay $200 a month to board her. Would half board be reasonable? $100 a month lease? Sounds doable for most people. But then what? How would they get to the trails since I don't have access from the barn property? Does it only work if I find someone who already has a truck and trailer? is that even a possibility? So then I need to allow them to use my truck and trailer, but that's a whole other bag of worms. They would be responsible for paying for gas, but what if they get a flat? Or worse, wreck my truck and/or trailer? No, that's way too much stress.
On that note, what happens if Gem gets hurt on their watch? Would they own up to it? Or would I just wander over to the barn one day to find a lame horse? And if they did own up to it, would they pay the vet costs? Or would we split them? And if my tack gets ruined some how? Would they pay to fix or replace it? See...lots and lots of questions just kept popping into my mind.
I don't know. A part of me wants to try to find someone through the endurance forums who is in need of a ride, but then again who wants to put all that time into conditioning a horse and never get to ride in a ride? There are so many liability questions out there. I would probably need a contract of some sort, but this all seems like a lot of hassle. If I had a close friend who wanted to ride then that would work out great, but I don't.
After thinking through everything, I think I am just going to let the thought pass. If the opportunity comes up in the future where someone is looking for a horse to ride and they have good references and such I may think it over a little more. Gemmie isn't the easiest horse to ride and I have put a LOT of effort into gaining her trust and confidence. I don't want anything to hurt that. So for now it will continue to be just Gemmie and me wandering down the trails when we get the chance to.
The hunter paces are great for conditioning and this spring will bring the chance to do a 25 mile ride and so I will see how that all goes.