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Leasing--an Affordable Option

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Horse sales had slowed to a trot--much like the California economy. So Patricia Kinnaman, her stables filled with unowned geldings and mares, queried aloud.

They buy horses, don’t they? Maybe they would lease them, too.

That was five years ago. Today, Kinnaman leases about 20 horses as part of her Traditional Equitation School, which has programs at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank and Hansen Dam Equestrian Center in Lake View Terrace.

Leasing allows budget-minded equestrian students the opportunity to ride the same horse regularly as if it were their own without being saddled with the high cost of ownership or upkeep.

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“I just wasn’t selling horses like I used to,” Kinnaman said. “And I noticed there were a lot of horses for sale. Financially, some people just can’t afford to buy right now.”

Leases run for one month and usually are shared by two people who each typically pay $550 a month and split time riding. Each partner also receives one half-hour private lesson and two one-hour group riding lessons per week.

The rest--board, grooming, shoeing, veterinary care, everything but grasping the reins--is handled by Kinnaman.

For Janet Klein, a former horse owner accustomed to spending close to $1,000 a month on equestrian expenses, that made good horse sense.

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“It became too expensive,” said Klein, who lives in Newhall. “And it took up too much of my time with the kids.”

Nine years ago, Klein sold her horse and quit her job as an art teacher after having the first of two children. But she still had a desire to ride.

“When you ride at a barn, you’re constantly being switched on horses,” Klein said. “You don’t always get the horse you want. I liked the idea of leasing because I could form that partnership with a horse that is so important.

“I hope to buy a horse again, but for right now, this is the way to go for me.”

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