Friday, January 3, 2014

This post should have more pictures, but doesn't

Quick recap of December/January:

1. New house!
2. Christmas with the in-laws in Boise!
3. Happy New Year!
4. Strepto-pneumo-rhino sleep all day bug.

Yes, I've been sick the past couple of days, which I really hate. Enforced sloth doesn't have any of the sweet, getting-away-with-it vibes that you get from being lazy on your own terms. So I spent most of the past 48 hours in bed, mostly sleeping, mostly feeling rotten. And also really jealous of the people who are outside riding on such a nice, clear couple of winter days.

The thing about spending several days in Boise is that it reinforced to me how much better we have winter here. Well, better being relative. It is much warmer here than it was there, out in the desert. And so far, knock on wood, it has been a dry winter here too. Granted, that can be bad for people who ski or who depend on spring runoff. But for me, it means that riding is not a slog... all the more reason to be mad that I'm too sick to ride.

Recently, members of the local OET chapter had been making rumblings online about a new riding area to check out—sort of a "best kept secret" near Oregon City. Turns out there is this large logging tract about 40 minutes from my barn that is, at least for now, open to recreation. Everyone calls it Olson/Unger, which just refers to the nearest intersection. A small group of PNER riders went up there and flagged some loops of varying lengths, though the entire property is a honeycomb of nice singletrack trail and logging road. I've done my last two weekend conditioning rides there, and I absolutely love it. It's a shorter drive than Hardy creek and, so far at least, less muddy than the State Parks. I haven't taken any photos on the actual trails, but I do have a record of Blue's opinion when we finished:

Blue is doing really well at the new barn. I need to do an entire post on the new place but for now let me just tell you that being outdoors 24/7 in a sloped, moderately muddy pasture has done wonders for him when it comes to negotiating wet trails.

He's also getting more regular work now, in spite of my sickness, because Jake, the young guy who cleans stalls at the new place, is smitten with him. The owner of the barn approached me (because Blue is such a good, mellow horse) to ask if I'd let Jake take lessons on Blue. This is a win-win as far as I can tell, since it means my horse is getting supervised exercise on weekdays. Jake also likes to get him out and lunge him or take him for short "trail rides" around the pasture.

However, as Jake seems to be getting a bit attached to my horse, I'm wondering if it would be in my interest to turn this arrangement in to a formal lease. Jake has said that he would consider taking on some of the expense of putting Blue on a bit more robust supplement regimen, and that certainly wouldn't break my heart.

I could see making a contract that Jake has free use of Blue Monday through Thursday on the barn property for some amount of money (reserving weekends for me), and then adding a vet clause in case of injuries to the horse and a liability clause in case Jake hurts himself. I've never done a lease before, though, so these thoughts are in their infancy.

Have any of you been in a lease contract before? What is usual? What is important? Tell me in the comments! :)


  1. Sounds like a good opportunity! I'm an attorney with equine law experience and I can give you some free pointers for a lease contract if you want to contact me privately -- I'm a new attorney and just trying to make a name for myself in the Oregon horse community. I'm also an endurance newb -- we briefly met at Foothills while I was scribing for a vet (and I went a little fan-girly, sorry!).

  2. The only time I've seen leases sour are because of two reasons:

    #1: The leasee puts a lot of time/money/training into the horse... and then the owner suddenly sells the horse because it's worth more.

    #2: The leasee hurts the horse because of stupidity and the owner is left with a big vet bill.

    Otherwise - sounds like the perfect plan!

  3. I would be paranoid enough to put in the lease that Blue cannot be taken off the property. Just a thought.