Broodmare Leases: Considerations When Leasing a Quarter Horse
Broodmare Leases: Considerations When Leasing a Quarter Horse
By Sara Gugelmeyer
Everyone has that one horse. Mine’s name is Colonels Miss Chic, and she will always have a special place in my heart.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our horse plans, and a few years ago, I made the tough decision to sell “Chic.” We needed the money for real-life stuff – a down payment on a home for our growing family. A wonderfully kind woman named Christine McDonald bought her, and we stayed in touch. I knew her real-life stuff had been changing a lot, too, and that Chic was mostly enjoying retirement.
It had always been my dream to raise a baby out of Chic and one day, on a total whim, I asked Christine whether she would ever consider allowing me that opportunity. To my delight, she agreed. Breeding season was almost over, and we quickly hashed out the details, signed a contract and got Chic to the vet to be bred.
It might be a bit unusual, but these sorts of broodmare leases do happen. Sure, many people who want a baby out of a mare they don’t own like to buy embryos, but leasing the actual broodmare can work great for both parties. It’s not something that can be entered into lightly. Care is needed for sure, as there is a mare, likely an expensive one, involved.
In this article, we'll cover:
- Success stories from leasing broodmares
- Broodmare lease agreements
- AQHA lease rules
- Insurance considerations when leasing broodmares
AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle and his wife, Abbi, operate Castle Ranch at Wayne, Oklahoma.
He has won numerous world championships and says leasing broodmares isn’t common among halter breeders, but it can work.
One of Luke’s customers, Glenn Cantrell, leased two broodmares from an acquaintance who wasn’t planning to breed them that year. Glenn wanted to raise some good babies but didn’t have the mare power.
Luke says the lease worked well: Glenn raised a baby that went on to win three world championships in halter. The mares’ owner didn’t have the expense of caring for the mares, and the arrangement made one of the mares a world champion producer.
“I leased mares from Ann Admonius in Florida, and it worked out really well for me,” Glenn says. “We just drew up a regular lease agreement. I bred the mares and showed the colts, and Ann kept the broodmares at her place. I picked up the babies when they were weaned.”
Ann owned nice mares that she wasn’t interested in breeding, Glenn says.
One mare Glenn leased was Dont Skip This Girl, a daughter of Playgirls Conclusion. He bred the mare to CK Kid to produce Denium N Lace, a 2008 sorrel mare. Glenn led her to the Select world championship in yearling fillies in 2009 then sold her to Jim and Joann Hicks of Friendswood, Texas
Joann showed Denium N Lace to the Select 3-year-old mares world championship in 2011 and the Select aged mares world championship in 2013.
Tammy Hays, a top non-pro competitor in National Reined Cow Horse Association competition, and Nichole Branquinho, wife of cow horse trainer Casey Branquinho, found themselves in a similar situation a couple years ago. Tammy and the mare Two Kitties were reserve champions in the Snaffle Bit Futurity non-pro division in 2012 and then went on to win the Stallion Stakes and Hackamore Classic non-pro divisions in 2013 and the Stallion Stakes non-pro division again in 2014.
Tammy was excited about the special mare’s future as a broodmare.
Tammy owned the mare with her parents, Walter and Jocelyn Greeman, but that’s not the only amazing mare the trio owned. Shine Smartly is one of the leading producing mares in NRCHA competition, after having won two AQHA world championships and more than $128,000 herself.
“Our focus was on Shine Smartly, and I didn’t have the budget to breed and flush more than one mare,” Tammy explains. “I hated wasting Two Kitties by not breeding her.”
Tammy’s friend Nichole expressed interest in the mare, and it seemed like the perfect situation. Nichole, who lives in Los Alamos, California, owns top NRCHA stallion Olena Oak in partnership with LaDona Emmons.
“We had a few mares,” Nichole says. “But none that had won a ton of money. We wanted to up our mare power.”
A superstar mare like Two Kitties was a great way to do that. It seemed like a match made in heaven for Tammy, because it allowed Two Kitties a chance at proving herself as a broodmare right away.
“By leasing her, we were able to get multiple babies the first year,” Nichole says. “Purchasing a mare that had won that much money just wasn’t possible for us at that time.”
Colorado ranch horse competitor Donna Stewart discovered leasing broodmares as an option when she purchased a breeding to Dual Spark in 2014.
Donna and her husband, Charlie, live in Colorado Springs and enjoy competing in AQHA ranch riding, Versatility Ranch Horse and AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges, as well as NRCHA.
“Honestly I leased a broodmare because I didn’t own a mare I wanted to breed,” Donna admits.
Luckily, her nearby friend Brad Ray of Premier Breeding Services in Kiowa, Colorado, had a well-bred mare available for lease.
The details of each lease arrangement are unique. In Donna’s situation, possession of the mare remained Brad’s until about a week after the foal was born, although it was at Donna’s expense.
This arrangement worked well for them because the mare was under his professional care turned out with other broodmares until just before foaling. Then once the foal was born, Donna picked up the pair and cared for them until the foal was weaned.
Some breeders might not be comfortable with that arrangement because the lessee has a significant investment in the mare and might want to be in charge of the care. For Donna and Brad, it worked out fine. In fact, a couple of years later, they repeated the lease with a different mare and different stallion.
In Ann and Glenn’s lease agreement, Ann kept her mares at home in Ocala, Florida.
“I paid the breeding fees, and I paid her for the use of her mares,” Glenn says. “I picked up the babies when they were weaned.”
Get it in Writing
Although breeding leases are between friends, a clear understanding of each side’s obligations and responsibilities is necessary. For most, that means a written and signed contract.
AQHA provides a simple breeding lease (www.aqha.com/forms-and-resources), which requires both owner and lessee to sign with a beginning and ending date. This allows the lessee to register any resulting foals in his or her name without owning the mare.
“There is a lot of trust involved,” Luke says, “But everything needs to be clear – who is responsible for what.”
Nichole says she and Tammy faced a big decision during their lease agreement. About 60 days before Two Kitties was due to foal, she colicked. Surgery was required, but the vets gave the mare and foal a slim chance of survival.
Through a mix-up, the mare was not insured and they were left with a tough decision of whether or not to do the surgery.
“It came down to two things,” Tammy says. “Two Kitties had done so much for me, I felt I owed her the chance with surgery, and I needed to give Nichole’s foal the chance, as well.”
They chose the surgery.
“Both mare and foal survived,” Nichole says.
Typically in these arrangements, the mare lessee is responsible for the care of mare and foal, including vet, shoeing, feed and other routine costs. Also, either the owner or lessee pays for insurance in case of medical emergency, like with Two Kitties.
“The biggest tip I have is to make sure you have a detailed contract before the lease begins,” Nichole says. “Make sure it has a beginning and ending date, and know who is going to provide what.”
While leasing broodmares might be somewhat uncommon, the results can be beneficial for both. It works great for mare owners, as they can get their broodmare proven with no cost to them.
Donna’s first foal from a broodmare lease, Dual Me CD, racked up NRCHA money and AQHA VRH points in 2018 as a 3-year-old.
Glenn raised a three-time world champion, and Nichole is excited about the first Olena Oak-Two Kitties babies.
In fact, after one year of leasing, Nichole thought Two Kitties was such a good fit for her program that she purchased the mare from Tammy.
So far, my arrangement with Christine to lease Chic has worked well. I have a gorgeous baby out of my favorite mare. We’ve renewed the lease and bred her for a 2019 baby.
We’re proving that with careful planning, a detailed contract and common sense it’s a win-win situation for mare owner and lessee.
Before leasing a broodmare, make sure you’re comfortable with AQHA rules on leases. Lease rules are outlined in REG125 of the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules & Regulations.
“AQHA processes about 1,000 leases a year, and the majority are for broodmares,” says Tammy Canida, AQHA director of systems development. “It’s important to be sure the lease dates cover the breeding dates and the anticipated foaling date when a mare live-carries the foal. If the embryo transfer process is being used, the lease beginning and end date just must cover the breeding date.”
For embryo transfer, mares should be enrolled in the embryo program, Tammy says.
Registration leases can extend three years at a time, Tammy says.
“The lease can be ended early with a statement from the lessee and owner providing us with the date it should be terminated. However, if the lease needs to be extended a longer period of time, a new lease must be done.”
Tammy also emphasizes that lease contracts should cover all aspects of the agreement to avoid conflict.
“AQHA does not want a copy of the lease agreement,” she says. “We do require AQHA’s form to be used without stipulations because we do not want to be part of any disputes.”
While a mare is leased, only the lessee can do business with AQHA for the mare and while the mare is under lease, ownership can’t be transferred.
Go to to www.aqha.com/forms-and-resources to download an AQHA lease form.
Insuring a Leased Broodmare
You want only the best for you and your mare. AQHA Corporate Partner Markel focuses on protecting your equestrian lifestyle, including your horses, home, barn, tack, and equipment. AQHA members are eligible for a 10% association credit applicable to a commercial equine liability, or liability portion of a farm package policy.
Learn more at www.aqha.com/markel.