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"Adopting" a horse from a friend

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  • "Adopting" a horse from a friend

    Next month I will be getting a horse from a friend. We have agreed to have some sort of documentation that outlines a few items - mainly that I will be taking over as owner and for the care of the horse, that I will contact the former owner first if we need to re home the horse, and that the former owner can contact me to check on the well being of the horse. I looked at using adoption contracts as an outline but haven't started putting anything together yet. I just want to make sure we have something in writing to protect both of us. It's an older gelding (21) that will be mostly for my kids to learn to ride on and used a few times a month for lessons. He will be kept on my property.

    Does there need to be any money exchanged for legal purposes? Anyone know of a good resource for creating a document like this? Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Creating a bill of sale for exchange of value ($1) is likely a lot easier and a lot more straightforward for what you are trying to do

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    • #3
      Originally posted by gahorseygal View Post
      Does there need to be any money exchanged for legal purposes? Anyone know of a good resource for creating a document like this? Thanks in advance!
      From our experience they need to give you a few thousand dollars to take the horse. My daughter took over an ancient pony from a neighbor to be used in her summer program, pony was vetted to be about thirty.... that was in 2004... we still have this pony, he is in excellent condition, vet looks at him and thinks he is Methuselah

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      • #4
        This is a sale, not an adoption. Treat it as a sale. Write a bill of sale, pay $1, and put in the first right of refusal language. I would be very reluctant to commit to welfare checks unless you want to write in what happens when the welfare checks don't meet your friend's expectations. Certainly offer verbally to keep her apprised about the horse, but I would not commit beyond that. That's probably all she wants, but I am uncomfortable with the term welfare check because it implies that she has some control over the horse's welfare. She does not. She has sold him to you.
        Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
        http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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        • #5
          This is a sale with first right of refusal, not an adoption. Create a bill of sale for $1, put in the first right of refusal language, and call it a day.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
            This is a sale, not an adoption. Treat it as a sale. Write a bill of sale, pay $1, and put in the first right of refusal language. I would be very reluctant to commit to welfare checks unless you want to write in what happens when the welfare checks don't meet your friend's expectations. Certainly offer verbally to keep her apprised about the horse, but I would not commit beyond that. That's probably all she wants, but I am uncomfortable with the term welfare check because it implies that she has some control over the horse's welfare. She does not. She has sold him to you.
            Indeed. You "adopt" children, you buy or lease property. Draft your contract accordingly.

            G.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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            • #7
              All good advice here. Is this a friend that you visit with at your respective homes? I ask, because you don't want them to drop by unannounced to check on the horse. And, you don't want the wellness checks to be intrusive.

              Do ask for shot and vet records. You want to know if the horse is UTD and if there are any injuries or conditions that will require ongoing vet/special farrier care. For $1 and a right of first refusal, you likely don't need a declaration on soundness. But, it's very good to know what you're getting into. I'm assuming you've ridden the horse and he's good for young riders.

              I loved receiving pictures of the horses I've sold.. with a young rider on their back and a ribbon around their neck. Pics of your kids up will likely make the seller happy too. Have fun!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cocorona View Post
                Creating a bill of sale for exchange of value ($1) is likely a lot easier and a lot more straightforward for what you are trying to do
                This is what I've done with all three of mine. I "buy" them for $1. Previous owners no longer have any rights, other than right of first refusal (unlikely to happen since all 3 are 25+ y.o.)

                I do allow the previous owners to visit if they call ahead of time. You'll find they'll come more often at first and then slowly drift away. My one guy hasn't seen his previous owner for 7 years, another 12 years.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you all! This is exactly what I needed to know. From our last conversation I think the seller is fine with just a verbal agreement regarding checking in on the horse's welfare. We talked about me sending photos as she lives out of state.

                  Is there anything that would be important to include in the bill of sale along with the right of first refusal?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gahorseygal View Post
                    Is there anything that would be important to include in the bill of sale along with the right of first refusal?
                    Ok to include that 'right of first refusal' but often they are ignored or unenforceable so make sure expectations are set properly
                    Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post

                      Ok to include that 'right of first refusal' but often they are ignored or unenforceable so make sure expectations are set properly
                      Contractual obligations like this are FULLY enforceable but it's going to mean hiring a lawyer @ $250/hr. (big retainer up front) to actually enforce them. If you're not willing to spend this kind of money then don't muck up contracts with foolishness.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                        Contractual obligations like this are FULLY enforceable but it's going to mean hiring a lawyer @ $250/hr. (big retainer up front) to actually enforce them. If you're not willing to spend this kind of money then don't muck up contracts with foolishness.

                        G.
                        So basically, they could be enforceable but aren't worth the money to enforce.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by S1969 View Post

                          So basically, they could be enforceable but aren't worth the money to enforce.
                          In a nutshell, yes.

                          G.
                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                            Contractual obligations like this are FULLY enforceable but it's going to mean hiring a lawyer @ $250/hr. (big retainer up front) to actually enforce them. If you're not willing to spend this kind of money then don't muck up contracts with foolishness.

                            G.
                            Nine times out of ten, Guilherme hits it on the nose.
                            Founding Member: Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sparrowette View Post

                              Nine times out of ten, Guilherme hits it on the nose.
                              LOL. Not if we are talking about: biology, climate change, politics, or leather care.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                In the same situation, I normally do a bill of sale, that has a no warranties or sold "as-is" clause, for the amount of $1 so it it is a legally binding sale of property. I do not include a "first right to refusal" clause as they are expensive to enforce and you will ALWAYS end up in the legal system to have the clause honored by the new owner, if they chose to not honor it themselves.

                                I would also not commit to random checks as a clause on the BOS. It would be very easy for her to void the contract and take you to court if she wants the horse back.


                                I’d rather ride on a Mustang, than in one.

                                BaileyAnn Neal

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Sparrowette View Post

                                  Nine times out of ten, Guilherme hits it on the nose.
                                  Thank you, but I'd rather you buy me a beer than make me the center of the discussion. The former is pleasant, the latter not so much!!!

                                  And it gives the zealots a way do divert attention from their lack of knowledge, experience, or understanding of what they are ready to have others die for!!!

                                  Thank you, again, for your kind thoughts!!!

                                  G.
                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Not trying to be a wet blanket, as this horse may be a perfect fit for your family. Agreements like this can sometimes damage a friendship, so it might be wise to decide beforehand if your relationship with this person can be sacrificed if the situation goes bad. Horses can bring out the crazy in some people, and an otherwise sane friend may begin to behave less than logically if she thinks her baby isn't being cared for appropriately. (Her definition of "appropriate" may not be the same as yours.) Hopefully, everything goes well on your side and hers, but it might help to have a contingency plan in case it doesn't.
                                    "The horse is bigger than you are, and it should carry you. The quieter you sit, the easier this will be for the horse." William Steinkraus

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I was given a horse a few years ago. Prior owner and I both signed a transfer of ownership that was written up as a deed of gift, not a bill of sale. No money (not even $1) changed hands. It was drafted by the prior owner's attorney and looked over by an attorney friend of mine before I signed (and while a bit simpler than the horse donations I'd handled for an equine nonprofit, the idea of ownership transfer without consideration was familiar turf for me). Most of the content is the same as you'd find in a bill of sale, but without valuable consideration it's a slightly different beast than a normal contract.

                                      It may be easier, OP, to use a typical equine bill of sale and put in a token $1 consideration. However, if that's unacceptable to you for some reason you might have more luck looking for a "deed of gift" or "declaration of gift" for horse ownership transfer than searching the keyword "adoption contract".

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