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Jumpingfool
Jun. 28, 2009, 08:41 PM
We have a customer who has been with us several years. She came to us as a 2'6" level rider with a very suitable but definitely not fancy first horse type. They wanted to move up to the A shows and knew they needed a fancier horse. She finished out the year on him while we shopped. We found her a terrific 3' horse while selling her previous horse for four times what they paid. That sound good but he was extremely cheap at purchase and still cheap when sold.

About six months later we found her a second horse. We were looking for something that could step her up to 3'6". We had him a few years ago as a young greenie and saw no reason he would not handle the 3'6". We explained to the customer that we felt he was very well priced, even as a 3' horse and quite a bargain if it turned out we were right and the 3'6" was within his grasp. It wasn't ideal that he did not have 3'6" mileage but we had liked him quite a lot as a young horse and thought it would be a good match. We bought him, and he lived up to all our expectations and then some. He ended up completely at home at 3'6" and once she was confident there, we sold her previous horse for a price that covered his purchase price, both his purchase and sales commissions and the commission they paid on the 3'6" horse. We started doing MM with him. He looks like that is going to be his real niche. Dad is all excited because he has heard the prices of good Eq horses.

Shortly thereafter, we got a young horse in that looked incredibly fancy and the dad spoke to us as buying it as a possible investment horse or perhaps something that would work into a nice horse for the daughter. We explained to him that if you have to pay board and training, which he would, there is no such thing as an investment horse. At the time I had the impression he thought we might work some deal for him but we don't do deals so that was never on the table. He ended up buying the horse anyway and around month three was making some comments about the expense of the investment horse. Privately, we decided to be aggressive in finding a buyer for the sale horse because dad was not going to be a good owner of a sale horse. Fortunately for us we did find a buyer. We explained to dad that he should sell when there was money to be made and that deal was done and a lesson learned all the way around.

Horse continues to develop into a really solid Eq horse and still doing some hunters. We decide to get her a fancy hunter so he doesn't have to work so hard. We narrow our search to two horses, one of which had come to us to be sold. The one in our barn is absolutely the most beautiful horse you have ever laid eyes on. Jaded old horseman in their sixth straight week of showing turn to watch him walk by. He is a pretty fancy mover and a very good jumper and occasionally can jump a jump that will take your breath away. 1-10, it's an 11. Hell, it's a 20. On the downside he seems a touch green and when he gets to a bad distance, jumps it in pretty poor form. Also we cannot seem to create that fabulous jump. It just happens from time to time.

2nd horse is just terrific. Beautiful wb/tb cross. Canter like a metronome. The bad distance just never comes up. Deep distance, long distance, perfect distance, jumps every one exactly the same which is as good as the pretty horse but not as good as that occasional fabulous jump. Stays perfectly straight, smooth back to front lead change you don't have to ask for. Really the perfect, perfect horse. She jumped him almost every day for a week and never missed a distance. A hack ribbon anywhere and the winner at the smaller venues.

So we recommend they buy the second horse. The kid loves riding the second horse but is in love with the beautiful horse because he's beautiful. He is also in our barn, so she has spent more time with him and he does have a sweet personality. She also knows she rides the second horse better. Pricewise, we are into six figures and the difference is tiny with the second horse being slightly more expensive. Dad mentions the price difference a couple time and I said we could make an offer for the second horse but he was well worth his price and there would be no real reason for the people to come down. We discuss various aspects of the two horses and dad asks about resale value. I explain that we are into a price point where reselling down the road for much more than we are paying would rely on doing some really amazing things, like winning at Indoors, championships at WEF, that type of thing.

Then I say the wrong thing. I say, if we could figure out how to get the fancy jump all the time and figure out how to get rid of the bad jumps at the bad distances, the beautiful horse could well be priceless. Well, dad jumps on that and we really, really try to dissuade him from that course. I said we'd been unable to figure him out in the six weeks we've had him and that if those bad jumps don't disappear he will likely go down in value. Even the daughter suddenly thinks the second horse is the right one. He mentions the price difference again and I say we will make an offer and if they don't take it, we will make up the difference in a smaller commission. (We NEVER do deals) We only charge 10% so that tells you how close in price the two are.

Long story short we have owned the beautiful horse for a year and to say it hasn't worked out would be an understatement. The kid will not ride him. We have given her at no charge a second year horse we own to show in the juniors but he is not nearly as fancy and with the shift in the economy, he is not nearly as valuable. Dad is absolutely furious. He came to us with the following 'solution'. We buy the beautiful horse 'back' at the price he paid, less the price of the second year horse, which he will 'buy'. We will also return the commission he paid for the beautiful horse.
Well, we didn't even think about it and said no.

So, today we get a letter from a lawyer. It seems more like a 'I have a lawyer and I know how to use it' than an actual suit in the making but it asks us to call him. One one hand, we are very very fortunate as we have an acquaintance who remembers the dad all proud at the first horse show and the kid was champion saying, 'yeah and they didn't want us to buy him.' Our plan is to call the lawyer and basically give him the number of our attorney.

I was going to ask what would you do? But of course, call my attorney is the only answer. I guess I just wanted to vent and I do have to tell you this was about twice as long before I posted. It felt good to review our history and feel we have done the right thing. We always thought never doing deals and always trying to buy horses that were actually worth what the customer paid would keep us out of trouble. If anyone is still reading, thanks for letting me vent.

mvp
Jun. 28, 2009, 09:03 PM
Yup, you're doing all right.

Make a time line with your attorney, as you did here.

Point out the places that you:

educated the dad

warned him about "investment horses"

tried to protect him from his own cluelessness and ambition by finding buyers when things didn't seem to be working.

made sure his kid had something to ride and show.

refused to make deals that would create a conflict of interest.

So long as you did that, your side of the very complicated, messy horse buying and selling street is clean.

One problem with dealing with clients who have enough coin and ego strength to generate the income to buy six-figure horses for their kids (and spend a hunk almost as large on board, training and showing) is that they are used to getting what they want and go after that. It comes with your territory, for better or for worse. You might look back and ask yourself if you could have done anything better. If not lawyer up, let the chips fall where they will and just chalk this puffed-up client to an unusual case in your normal business. If you didn't do anything wrong, don't let it bug you.... and enjoy imagining some judge rolling his eyes as he listens to some pissed off dad complaining because you didn't guarantee his investment. Please.

Mayaty02
Jun. 28, 2009, 09:08 PM
all I can say after reading your post is "what the heck does he think he can sue for?" A horse is an animal and even if it was a stock, or a house, or a business, the seller or trainer who coordinated the sale has no obligation to guarantee this fools investment. I've love to know what his lawyer thinks he can sue for...

CBoylen
Jun. 28, 2009, 09:56 PM
Call the attorney (a good equine one, I hope), who probably will tell you to remove this post ASAP until you resolve the issue.

Sundown
Jun. 28, 2009, 10:13 PM
What's he going to sue you for? His ignorance?
I agree to call your lawyer and remove this until it's all over.

Go Fish
Jun. 28, 2009, 10:27 PM
Lawyer up, then tell him to suck eggs.

Daventry
Jun. 28, 2009, 10:29 PM
Call the attorney (a good equine one, I hope), who probably will tell you to remove this post ASAP until you resolve the issue.

Yup! Whether everything here is the absolute truth or not. Get it removed, call your lawyer and let YOUR LAWYER contact their lawyer. Don't contact their lawyer yourself and make sure you don't discuss so much as a hello with the other party. Let your lawyer handle everything. If you've got a decent lawyer who can put together a good letter stating the obvious....that it's a frivolous claim, he should be able to make it go away. Mentioning that you've got witnesses, experts, etc. to back it up also helps! :yes: Hope they realize they just lost their trainer!!

Jumpingfool
Jun. 29, 2009, 08:02 AM
Well, of course my post is well disguised. The letter from the attorney seems more like an idle threat than a real issue. The odd thing is the kid comes to the barn every day and we've seen both of the parents in a time frame that would indicate they had at least contacted the attorney if not sent the letter but we had not received it. I am guessing the kid is clueless about the lawyer situation because she is not very sophisticated about hiding her feelings. The parents were signing entry forms and leaving checks for late summer shows within the time frame they had to have been at least thinking about contacting an attorney if not having made the call. They are understandibly upset about the result, but even Mom said how lucky they felt about the purchases/sales they had made up until that point having heard horror stories from other parents. We never felt the parents blamed us until the dad came with the proposed deal.

After having the weekend pass and a bit of time has passed to digest things, we are far calmer. They really have been very good customers and somehow we think they will remain our customers. We are starting to feel they just reached a level of frustration that ended up with them wanting to lash out in some way. We are faxing our lawyer the letter this morning. I'll update after we hear back from him.

Daventry
Jun. 29, 2009, 08:44 AM
Well, of course my post is well disguised.

But if you have explained the situation in it's entirety, it's not well disguised. You may be posting this under an alter, but if the facts are the facts, it will be easy for a stablemate, etc. to read it and know who it's about and contact the clients to let them know about the post. The COTH BB is an extremely large community.


They really have been very good customers and somehow we think they will remain our customers. We are starting to feel they just reached a level of frustration that ended up with them wanting to lash out in some way. We are faxing our lawyer the letter this morning. I'll update after we hear back from him.

Why on earth would you want to keep them as customers? Good customers trust your judgment. Good customers come straight to you if they have any problems....not lawyer up! :( If this all blows over and things go back to normal, what happens the next time they feel unhappy or think you've made a mistake or decision in poor judgment? If it were me, the letter from their lawyer would make an immediate dismissal from the barn once this is all done! Who wants to always worry about being sued? Let them go to someone with more experience and that can deal with both their money and their horse.

findeight
Jun. 29, 2009, 09:46 AM
Ummm, I had something else typed out but thought better of it.

Who IS the client here, the female person you say you sold the horses to in the first few paragraphs? Or is this a child and you were dealing with the Dad all along? Actually, in your best interests not to answer this.

It's one thing to ask for favorite excercises to keep lessons interesting, how did you fix xx problem in your horses and what do you charge. Airing what you could call dirty laundry and a bunch of he said, we said, she said with situational details can backfire and cost you dearly if these clients get a heads up this is on there. And it's not that hard to figure out identities on somebody who had purchased these ability specific horses at these prices in this order with a child who will not ride one of them. More then likely this child or one of her barnmates is on here and bored with plenty of time for guessing games-or one of our adult sleuths digs into it.

The best answer to your question is to call your attorney and keep all the hearsay off the web. It does not exactly speak to your professionalism to repeat all the innuendo and suppositions on either side on here. Take it down and call your lawyer.

Phaxxton
Jun. 29, 2009, 10:40 AM
Do not call his lawyer. Give the letter you received to your lawyer and have your lawyer contact his lawyer. Then remove this post until it is all settled. :yes:

Good luck! Sorry you're going through this.

TwoFoxFarm
Jun. 29, 2009, 10:44 AM
Why would you have even bothered to show the horse to the kid if in your heart it was not the right horse?

JanM
Jun. 29, 2009, 01:12 PM
Delete your posts, fax the letter to your lawyer, and dump the client now-have your attorney send a letter to get their animal off your property today. If anything happens to the client while on your property, or anything happens to any animal they own you will get sued and they will say you retaliated against them. They have clearly shown you what kind of people they are, so you need to act accordingly.

Jumpingfool
Jun. 29, 2009, 01:44 PM
Findeight, the rider is the child. In the third sentence I said 'they', indicating the parents and child. Trust me when I say the situation is unrecognizable. That horse purchase pathway may seem unusual to you, but I think it is so ordinary as to be a cliche.

TwoFox, obviously we didn't show them the horse thinking it unsuitable. At the time of the purchase, it was the lesser of two choices for this particular rider but not a horse who was off the table. We would have been happy to continue to represent the horse for the people who sent him to us. If we thought the situation was impossible, we wouldn't have sold them the horse. Of the two horses, we preferred the other one.

Daventry, we are lifelong horsemen and are old enough that lifelong means something. We have a nice string of A clients who are competitive. We were originally sent the beautiful horse because we have a couple different customers capable of showing him should we feel that was the best way to get him sold. The owner of the beautiful horse was paying his way. We did not have him on the cuff.

We are not being sued. We have received a letter from an attorney asking us to call him. We faxed the letter to our lawyer.

JanM, YMMV but in our state we cannot evict at no notice. While I am disheartened by the letter, I do not think it represents their true feelings on the matter and they are just lashing out out of frustration. I think all three of them were seeing fame and glory beyond their wildest dreams and the reality is a bitter pill.

In my original post I said it was twice as long. I should have left it that way because all this was covered then.

SillyHorse
Jun. 29, 2009, 01:48 PM
If you think this is the longest post in the history of this BB, even at twice the current length, you obviously haven't heard of SLC over on the dressage forum. She can make this post look like a tweet. :lol:

Oh, and it was a pleasure to read a coherent, well-written post. It's a complicated story, but you wrote it so well I could follow it quite easily. You don't see much of that on the internets.

In any case, good luck. I hope it all boils down to nothing.

Long Spot
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:44 PM
If you think this is the longest post in the history of this BB, even at twice the current length, you obviously haven't heard of SLC over on the dressage forum. She can make this post look like a tweet. :lol:

Oh, and it was a pleasure to read a coherent, well-written post. It's a complicated story, but you wrote it so well I could follow it quite easily. You don't see much of that on the internets.

In any case, good luck. I hope it all boils down to nothing.

Sillyhorse, are you my twin? I was going to say all of this. And I mean ALL of this.

I'm sorry you are going through this, OP.

findeight
Jun. 29, 2009, 07:16 PM
About remaining anonyomous? Just remember you cannot un post prior posts and it's really easy to pull up anybody's history...like that thing with a certain brother 25 years ago. Took me about 3 minutes on that.

Put the pieces together from prior posts and you can join that and estimate your age, info on what level you show at, what you haul and this horse aquisition adventure can narrow the list.

I have neither the time nor inclination, actually could not care less. BUT others may and it really would be a good idea to pull this. Never underestimate this boards reach or the willingness of some to pass along "hot" topics to those they think may be involved.

JanM
Jun. 29, 2009, 07:45 PM
Jumping-if you think they're just lashing out now just wait until something happens. I wouldn't trust the parents for one second, after all they've shown you how they deal with things when the outcome isn't what they want it to be. People like your client's parents really scare me-everything that goes wrong has to be someone else's fault, and they intend to make them pay for it. I still think you might want to seriously reconsider if their business is worth the stress of waiting for them to fly off the handle about very normal business events that don't always go their way. I'm sure your attorney will advise you properly about this unfortunate incident, and advise you about your future liability from these people. I hope that everything works out well for you.

Flash44
Jun. 29, 2009, 08:13 PM
Anyone who uses the words "horse" and "investment" in the same sentence without inserting the word "bad" in between them needs their head examined. Parents who purchase a horse for a child should have SAFETY and FUN as the top 2 criteria, with possibly HEALTH and RIBBONS rounding out the top 4.

SillyHorse
Jun. 29, 2009, 08:43 PM
Sillyhorse, are you my twin? I was going to say all of this. And I mean ALL of this.

I'm sorry you are going through this, OP.
Well, I always did like the long spot! :lol:

dghunter
Jun. 29, 2009, 09:01 PM
If you think this is the longest post in the history of this BB, even at twice the current length, you obviously haven't heard of SLC over on the dressage forum. She can make this post look like a tweet. :lol:

Oh, and it was a pleasure to read a coherent, well-written post. It's a complicated story, but you wrote it so well I could follow it quite easily. You don't see much of that on the internets.

In any case, good luck. I hope it all boils down to nothing.

I've never been into the twitter thing but your post made me :lol::lol::lol:

Ditto on the coherent post. Not that I'm writing very coherently tonight (which is shame since I have a paper due tomorrow :lol:) Some people's posts just make me cringe (and why I avoid certain people's posts ;))

Daventry
Jun. 29, 2009, 09:36 PM
If you think this is the longest post in the history of this BB, even at twice the current length, you obviously haven't heard of SLC over on the dressage forum. She can make this post look like a tweet. :lol:



I was going to say it but decided to keep my mouth shut! :lol::lol: You have not made it as a regular on this board until you've read one of SLC's posts! :eek::no::D:lol:

The OP is in for a stressful existence if she continues to keep the clients after this incident! :yes: Whether you were asking for advice or not, please at least consider what every single post is screaming at you....run Forrest RUN!!! Maybe the clients will have some sense and move their horses to another barn, therefore being able to keep the peace and saving you any further stress! Nobody likes leaving on bad terms...but kind of hard not to do when you send your trainer a letter from your lawyer. Nice way of dealing with a problem! God forbid if the child or the horse gets hurt at some point. I'm sure a simple letter will not due at that point.

Why can't people ever see the train wreck coming for them while everyone else around them is screaming at them to get out of the way?! :( Sigh! Live and learn I guess.

Jumpingfool
Jun. 30, 2009, 07:43 AM
About remaining anonyomous? Just remember you cannot un post prior posts and it's really easy to pull up anybody's history...like that thing with a certain brother 25 years ago. Took me about 3 minutes on that.

Put the pieces together from prior posts and you can join that and estimate your age, info on what level you show at, what you haul and this horse aquisition adventure can narrow the list.

I have neither the time nor inclination, actually could not care less. BUT others may and it really would be a good idea to pull this. Never underestimate this boards reach or the willingness of some to pass along "hot" topics to those they think may be involved.

Findeight, you sound angry and it certainly seems like you are trying to be deliberately hurtful. I am flattered that you care.

To everyone else, thanks so much for the imput. Do not think I am ignoring it just because I am not saying oh absolutely! Like any situation, this one is the sum of it's parts and you all have been lucky to only have to wade through a tiny portion of it. I will update as the situation develops.

naters
Jun. 30, 2009, 07:58 AM
Findeight is not being meanspirited, just objective. She is giving great advice, especially if this turns into a legal matter, you will definitely want to remove all of this..

Summit Springs Farm
Jun. 30, 2009, 09:10 AM
Maybe Findeight protests too much, sounds like you've been there done that before.
To the OP, good luck try not to let the emotions get into the discussions and remain as business like as you can and have shown us here.

findeight
Jun. 30, 2009, 01:14 PM
Maybe Findeight protests too much, sounds like you've been there done that before.


Nope. Never had time. Watched it happen to others and even know of a horse sale that fell thru do to something posted on here "anonymously"... very incorrect information. Somebody figured the who and where out, it got back to the buyer and they bailed.

Small world.