The Art of Sharing by Rhea Wild

For many years I sought to get my equine fix from lessons at local riding schools, helping with school friends’ ponies in the summer, working weekends at the nearest livery yards and attending as many country shows as the season allowed.

It was never quite enough though.

The sound of hay being munched, and the smell of fly spray faded all too quickly for my liking.

I don’t come from a horsey family and the chance of me owning my own horse was akin to a snowball surviving a furnace.

My mother used to tell me that, “When you become a dentist you can afford to have as many Highlands as you like, and not before.” As an aside, I didn’t become a dentist and I still don’t have a Highland pony. I needed more involvement.

This led me down the path of sharing.

Sharing is essentially where you become the horse owner part time. In my own experience, this occurs when an owner is short on time, is away with work or in other cases is taking time off riding to have a baby or look after family. It can be a bit of a minefield and is not as simple as it seems.

How do you share a horse? Who mucks out? Who pays for what? I have shared many types of horse and have met may types of owners.

Some have been brilliant, and I still keep in touch with them. Others haven’t been as smooth sailing as I’d have liked. It all comes with the territory.

If you are considering looking for a share, here are my top tips!

  • Vet the horse (and owner) as if you are buying

I say this because you never know, just by looking, what the horse is actually like and if there is anything you should be aware of. You are still investing time and money, and you treat them as your own, so approach with the same rigour and caution as if they were. You’re a stakeholder in this horse’s life.

  • Draw up a contract

Be clear about what your expectations are and that of the owner. If you are thinking, you’d like a gentle hack a few times a week and they are thinking you’ll be up at the yard everyday implementing a strict exercise programme, you may need to adjust your plans. This also applies to money. Some owners don’t ask for a contribution to the expenses, but many do. This might be by bank transfer, cash, or just paying the farrier every 6 weeks as your fee. Know what you can reasonably afford and if you think its fair. Having everything in writing also takes away any guesswork about what you’re both expecting from the sharing experience and things can always be negotiated if circumstances change.

  • Have fun!

Building a relationship with your share horse and owner can be so rewarding. All going to the beach, supporting each other at shows, social horsey events. I even ended up becoming an unofficial Auntie to one of my share owners’ kids! There’s lots of fun to be had as a sharer and it makes the equine life easier when you have someone else to bounce ideas off, learn from and adventure with. Not to mention sharing the costs! A good sharer is worth their weight in gold and so is a good share owner. So, enjoy it! 

If you have any more questions or want to quiz Rhea on how she’s done it all – follow Rhea on Instagram –