Sometimes people ask if they can borrow my horse. Well, not so much with Freedom as he can be a handful and doesn’t always look like that much fun. Loaning your horse out is a tricky thing — there are liability issues, for sure, but also territorial ones. I know one person who said they’d sooner loan their toothbrush!
In the past I’ve had horses that I’ve “loaned” to a few people. I’m not a big fan of letting just anyone ride my horses — I believe that every time you ride you are teaching them something — but I’ve had friends that I think are good riders and who have good judgment. I didn’t have any problem with letting them ride and sometimes it’s a lot more fun to have a companion when you head out. I do like to watch someone ride before they take a horse out without me and I much prefer to offer than to be asked. Sometimes when I’m asked, I feel on the spot. The rider might not be someone that I would have offered the ride.
It also depends on the horse. Kroni, my Trakehner, had a firmly established sense of self later in his life. He didn’t really care if someone else rode him, he most cared about being ridden properly. If the rider did not live up to his standards (and sometimes that was me), he just ignored them (this was better than when he was young. Then he reared if he didn’t like how you rode him!) He didn’t get upset and he no longer misbehaved. In this regard he was much like my first horse, Bogie, who if he didn’t like his rider would retire to the middle of the ring and stand still until they gave up. Passive resistance worked well for him.
Dezzi, my TB mare, was adaptable. My theory was that she had raced for so long (56 starts, retiring at 7) that she developed a very workmanship attitude toward riders. She tried her best and didn’t make too much of a fuss.
Freedom, on the other hand, is a sensitive and somewhat anxious horse; if a rider gets worried, he is immediately looking for the reason. I suspect that he would be okay with other riders now but when I first got him I thought he needed the consistency of a single rider so that he could learn to relax and trust that I wasn’t going to ask him for more than he could do. I still don’t think that I’d loan him out for more than just a hack.
So what about you? How do you feel about loaning your horse out?