Sharing a horse can be a win-win
situation when done right.
» BY JEC ARISTOTLE BALLOU
IN A WORLD WHERE LIVES ARE
INCREASINGLY HECTIC and
budgets are stretched razor-thin, many
equestrians are making an unexpected
discovery: Teamwork just might be the
best way to care for a horse.
Enticed into these situations for a variety of
reasons, a number of riders are drawn to horse-share or leasing arrangements not just for their
own interests, but for the horse’s.
“Honestly, I don’t think I would have a horse again if
I couldn’t share it with someone,” says Nancy Chin
of Santa Cruz, Calif. She has shared Flash, a 15-year-
old Morgan gelding, with Barbara Arroyo for the
past 10 years.
The pair bought Flash together spontaneously
at a local breeding-barn liquidation sale and have
shared equally in all of his costs and responsibilities
since then. Individually, each rider was overwhelmed
by the prospect of buying a horse, but together, it
In hindsight, they chuckle about the absence of
formal planning but wonder if their 10 harmonious
years without a written contract might be an indicator
of how well these relationships can work with the right
The share has worked so well that Chin and
Arroyo now question the merits of sole ownership,
particularly in terms of the horse’s well-being. In
places like coastal California where they live, turnout
is almost non-existent due to the high price of land, so
sharing a horse helps ensure it gets enough exercise.
“This is not just about the cost,” says Chin. “If you
work full-time, you physically cannot get your horse
out every day. And they need to get out and move.”
Having multiple owners covers all the bases
for the horse, while simultaneously meeting each
rider’s needs. In the case of Chin and Arroyo, the
women’s schedules vary enough that they seldom find
themselves in conflict for riding time.