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DD Crushed by pony sale gone bad!

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  • DD Crushed by pony sale gone bad!

    We are having an issue with a USHJA Certified Trainer. This trainer was working with us on selling our pony and showed it to a few people. The next day I was informed that they were not interested but that her fiance would love to buy the pony for her to use in her barn. We agreed to sell him at bottom dollar because my eleven year old daughter would still be able to visit him and ride him on occasion. We closed on the sale of the pony on Friday and less than 24 hours later he was on a trailer to another state. Our trainer had worked a profitable deal for her and her fiance. She sold the pony to the people (I spoke with them and confirmed) that viewed him while she was acting as our Fidicuary Agent. So not only did she lie about the pony remaining in the barn (even told my daughter to come ride him next week) she also took advantage of her role as our trainer to profit even more. My daughter was devastated, as are we, because we only chose to sell him to her because she said she would use him in the barn and lease him to nice families only. We have confronted her with what we know and she agreed to give us our money back and return the horse but has yet to do anything else. She will not respond to us and in the meantime our pony is just sitting in a barn. We have sent her a contract to reverse the previous one and no response. I have contacted an attorney, but he seems to feel we would be well out of pocket going the legal route because our trainers own father is an attorney and would try and drag this out. In a last ditch effort we sent a refund payment to her hoping she would complete her promise and give us the pony. Rather, she sent the funds back. She has no intention of righting this wrong. We only want our pony back. It is extremely sad that a trainer would manipulate and take advantage of an 11 year old girl. Any help yall can give would be grealy appreciated.

  • #2
    Did you have a contract for the sale of your pony to your trainer, detailing an agreement to keep the pony in her barn in lieu of the reduced sale price?
    Patience pays.


    • #3
      The law is good at redressing financial harm, but less good at redressing intangible harm like wanting the pony to stay in the barn so your daughter could visit it. My thinking is that your damages here--the damages you could potentially recover--are the difference between what you sold the pony to the trainer for, and what she sold it to the customer for 24 hours later. How much does this difference amount to? Most states allow parties to represent themselves in small claims actions (in California, small claims actions are up to $10,000). However, you probably won't be able to get the pony back. It would just be money damages. But still, this trainer deserves to be sued so her fraudulent actions are made public.

      The whole thing is really rotten. I assume she's not your trainer any more. I would report her to the USHJA and tell the story to as many future clients as possible to make sure people know to avoid this unscrupulous trainer.


      • #4
        If you have the time to do so, consider Horsegirls' Mom's suggestion of going through Small Claims Court. This is not an expensive process, nor does it require legal knowledge. It is however time consuming. I successfully sued a clinic organizer for taking my deposit then not giving me the location of the clinic (she was unreachable for months before the clinic). I and 7 other people lost our deposits ($312). The only option for me was Small Claims as any attorney would charge me more than I lost. To be honest, it was both exciting and fun at times. My philosophy was "take it as far as I can." I could always drop the suit. As it turned out, the woman did hire an attorney (our state allows attorney's in Small Claims, some don't). I went up against him six times and won ever motion and every hearing despite his clearly superior knowledge of the law ---but what he couldn't refute were the basic facts --she took my money and didn't give me the address of the clinic. I am not a lawyer. What I did was slowly, and clearly explain to the judge what happened. I had two witnesses who had the same problem with the woman who spoke to the judge as well. I had all my documentation (4 copies of each). I won $740 ---my $312, court costs and witness fees.

        But I had to appear in court 6 times because the woman's attorney tried to delay and continue extensively. I am retired and had no problem appearing again and again --but I didn't have to leave a job.

        Attorneys are just people -even if she has one. The truth is the truth. At least file a small claim --sometimes that is enough to make people rethink their actions. Small Claims Courts exist for people like you and me. Take the case as far as you can. If you lose --at least you tried --but if you have a contract and witnesses, you won't lose.

        Oh, and there's lots of advice on YouTube on how to prepare and present a Small Claim in court --even on how to dress for court.


        • #5
          Does the lawyer father know of the behaviour of his trainer daughter? Is that the kind of thing a lawyer wants known in his own family? Professional reputations do matter.
          "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


          • Original Poster

            We did have a contract, I should have been smarter and had that he would remain in the barn but instead I trusted her. The problem is that she sold him to the same people she was showing him to for us. She told us they were not interested. The father knows and has thrown around some legal jargon. It's not slander if it's the truth and I have texts to back up everything. Thank you all for your responses.


            • #7
              ^ That right there should be what you focus on. Not where the pony went or promises of your daughter seeing it, or even you wanting the pony back. As your agent, the trainer showed the pony at X price. The trainer told you the people were not interested, or never told you about the showing (unsure here). The trainer then offered to purchase the pony at a reduced rate (Y) from you, but turned around and sold the pony (for X or X+Z) to the people who saw the pony while the trainer acted as your agent. The difference between Y and X or X+Z is your legal stand, due to breach of contract as your agent (I believe).
              Last edited by TheJenners; Jul. 4, 2019, 05:38 PM. Reason: Got my letters mixed up!
              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nacho2004 View Post
                We did have a contract, I should have been smarter and had that he would remain in the barn but instead I trusted her. The problem is that she sold him to the same people she was showing him to for us. She told us they were not interested. The father knows and has thrown around some legal jargon. It's not slander if it's the truth and I have texts to back up everything. Thank you all for your responses.
                This is the part where you could possibly show financial harm? I think there was a major lawsuit in Florida involving high dollar dressage horses recently - maybe do a search on that forum.
                "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                • #9
                  1) contact the people who bought the pony. Get them on you side by outing the trainer and telling them that they will have their names plastered ALL OVER social media in on Monday. Ask them to write a statement that they were unknowingly involved in an illegal misrepresentation of the pony by the trainer.

                  2) Tell the old trainer they have until Monday to return pony, or the below actions will go into effect.. inform then that you will be contacting the USHJA Tue am if the pony has not been returned. They have violated ethic practices consistent with the USHJA.
                  In addition, inform them you will write emails to their students and clients, and take out a full page add in the local horse publication with photos of documents, photos of texts, and photos of your pony.

                  3) retain council. Let the trainer know you have done this. It is not Slander.

                  4) Contact the owner of the barn the trainer works out of. Tell them the whole story, including the social media/yelp/professional organizations/local hunter-jumper clubs who will all receive the same emailed story with photos of your pony.

                  5) Make good on all of these communications.


                  • #10
                    Hire a lawyer.


                    Its worth spending some money up front to get this resolved sooner rather than later. Trying to muck about with small claims court is about as efficient as trying to do an oil change yourself. Especially in this situation which pertains to a breach of trust. That is tricky and every word will matter.


                    • Original Poster

                      Alomine - I did contact the new buyers and they were completely cooperative and even told me that they told her she was interested.....two days later I cannot get them to call me back or respond to text. So either they are trying to keep their mouth shut in the hopes that we give up, or they don't want to get involved. I have seen my daughter in a depression since this started, as are we. Something only horse owners would understand. I am in the process of seeking counsel.


                      • #12
                        Focus on the breach of fiduciary duty rather than the promise to keep the pony local.

                        that being said, you wanted the pony sold, no? Why aren’t you pursuing damages rather than trying to get the pony back. Don’t you want the profit the agent pocketed that you think should have been yours? I would pursue THAT in small claims court rather than trying to undo the sale and get the pony back...
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                          Focus on the breach of fiduciary duty rather than the promise to keep the pony local.

                          that being said, you wanted the pony sold, no? Why aren’t you pursuing damages rather than trying to get the pony back. Don’t you want the profit the agent pocketed that you think should have been yours? I would pursue THAT in small claims court rather than trying to undo the sale and get the pony back...
                          Yes, this. The Florida case mentioned was breach of fiduciary duty and iirc fraud. Your harm is losing out on the actual sales price.


                          • #14
                            It wouldn't surprise me if she added a fee on to the buyer as their agent as well.

                            Maybe someone from the racing forum will chime in.


                            • #15
                              I hope you do pursue this somehow as this type of behaviour needs to be called out in our industry. I imagine if your goal is to get the pony back, then the new owners may be reluctant to cooperate as their is probably a little girl at their end that also loves the pony. Focusing on the money/fraud part of it might be more fruitful. I imagine there are two things at play: that you sold him based on a lie, and that the agent did not disclose the interested of the eventual buyer.
                              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                              • #16
                                If the facts are what's been presented here, then yes, I agree the trainer acted dishonestly and probably fraudulently (but we have no idea how the contract was worded, so the legality of the transaction gets a big asterisk).

                                BUT. Why is the daughter's depression being raised as an issue here? You were selling the pony, and she should have been prepared (by you, the responsible parent) for the pony to leave the stable. Even if you thought the pony was staying in the barn, it would be doing your daughter a serious disservice if you made her think that she could still love on him and act as if he were still hers.
                                If you want to be taken seriously by a judge or attorney in this case, leave out the entire "daughter's crushed" part of the story. None of it carries any legal weight and its use seems to be designed to manipulate.


                                • #17
                                  Check out your state's criminal statutes. If you have theft by deception or theft by conversion statutes or the like she may get a nice set of bracelets Prosecutors are paid by you. Go get some free advice from your public servant.
                                  And how your daughter feels will make an impression on the prosecutor and the jury.


                                  • #18
                                    Couldn't it factor in that one of the reasons that the trainer was able to get the pony "cheap" was because it was supposed to stay in the barn. I think they manipulated the sale price with that promise. I have no doubt that the trainer sold the pony for the initial asking price. And little doubt that they added a buyers fee on top of that.


                                    • #19
                                      And I don't see how the final sale contract makes any difference. The trainer was acting as an agent for the seller. Then bought the pony herself and sold it to the person whom was interested when she was the agent. That is the issue.


                                      • #20
                                        A lawyer has fairly limited leeway to "drag things out" in this kind of case. And the lawyer father ought to think real carefully if he wants to get involved in this one of the fiduciary breech is as cut and dried as you represented. Lawyers can and do get disbarred for unethical conduct.