If you're on COTH, you've probably already seen this, but I'm talking about it here (with permission).
A wonderful woman I know online and IRL decided to lease out her mare. Wonderful Woman had a lot going on in her life, mare was having soundness issues, and WW decided to seek a retirement/light riding home for her. She did her homework, got references, had a contract, etc. She did absolutely everything you should do when you're leasing out a horse, and frankly more than a lot of people probably would do.
She found a good lease situation about 1.5 hours away and talked with the lessee at length about the mare and what care she would need. Lessee was on board with everything.
The mare left WW's possession looking like this.
WW kept in touch with the lessee and received regular reports that everything was going well.
Then, after about 7 weeks, lessee commented that the mare was looking skinny. WW started to worry. Things weren't sounding right. She eventually got the lessee to send her photos of the mare, 8 weeks after the lease started. WW immediately got things going to retrieve the mare.
When the mare got home (again, 8 weeks after leaving), this is the condition she was in:
How do you let a horse get in such poor condition in so little time?? Apparently, you don't feed hay, only bits of grass and weeds, and grain about 3 times a week.
Thankfully, the mare is doing well. She's been back for less than a week, but is eating and is bright and happy.
If you're leasing out a horse, do your homework, but don't trust it. Listen to your gut. If something doesn't seem to be quite right, it's probably not. And if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you're interested, the full story is here.