I recently signed a horse lease in Ohio with an individual 3 weeks ago. The contract states that the individual was to pay me $15,000 upfront for a one-year lease, in addition to the horse's monthly board and vet bills. The contract also states that I (the owner) am allowed to ride the horse once a week based on the individual's schedule for the duration of the lease. However, the lease contract does not specify what type of riding (jumping, flatwork, etc.) I am allowed to do. I rode the horse yesterday and jumped him over a few fences (less than 2 feet), which is nothing compared to what I usually do (I've ridden for over 16 years and competed with this horse for over 6 years). Now the individual is saying that she wants to either end the lease immediately and return him to me, or renegotiate the lease so that I am not allowed to ride him for a year. The reason she wants to end the lease is because I was never "allowed" to jump him. However, nowhere in the contract did it say this nor was I verbally told this. I am considering just ending the lease, rather than renegotiating because the individual hasn't been taking great care of my horse and isn't the most experienced rider either. Will I be required to return the $15,000, if the lease contract never mentioned anything about ending the lease early? And would I face any other legal issues, since the individual is the one who gave me the two options in the first place?
1 Answer from Attorneys
It's difficult to answer your questions without seeing the lease and its terms.
Generally speaking, if you terminate the lease early, some of the $15,000 you received up front will need to be returned, since you are only three weeks into a year long lease. A termination clause in the lease could clarify this.
If the other individual is okay with ending the lease early, your best bet is to put this in writing as well as any other conditions or terms that were mutually agreed upon when deciding to terminate the lease early.