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Horse ownership and registration papers.

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  • Horse ownership and registration papers.

    The question of proof of ownership of horses came up somewhere else and maybe this needs a thread of it's own.

    The AQHA has explicit wording about registration certificates not being proof of legal ownership.
    The person listed as owner is considered "owner of record" in the association, but the horse may have been sold several times or died and no one transferred the certificate into their name.
    Many people don't, because they are training the horse and selling it again soon, or just trading horses and, as long as they don't need to show or breed, they don't need for that horse to be registered in their name.

    Each one needs to ask their attorney what their situation demands as legal proof of ownership of any horse, registered or not, or if you bred it.

    I know of cases where bills of sale or cancelled checks were used as proof of ownership and I guess if you bred it, you have records of owning the mare/stallion or whatever contract you had about it with whoever bred it for you.

    The gist of this is to remember that your name on a registration certificate alone is not considered legal proof, best I know.
    If that were so, there are several horses I sold still with my name as "owner of record".
    No one transferred them into their name, but I can't claim to own them, just because my name is still on those certificates.

  • #2
    Yeah I had my horses insured in a inland Marine policy. They asked if I had proof of ownership. I showed them pictures of them on my farm-I guess possession is 9/10 of the law ;-)
    www.abernathyfarm.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Can depend on your state law as well....here in NV the ONLY legal proof of ownership is a state issued brand inspection card. To get that you need a bill of sale, cancelled checks (and they will take registration papers if the name on the papers is the same one that is getting the brand inspection done...or the transfer is also there showing the person getting the brand inspection as the one the horse is being transferred to). It can get hairy if you bred a horse. Here you are supposed to have your brand inspection card with you for any horse you move from one area of the state to another and also if you are crossing a state line. Many people don't however.
      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
      www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
      Northern NV

      Comment


      • #4
        Two of my horses are grade horses. One of them is a home bred and I don't have papers on either one of them. I have every one of their coggins papers and vet records going back 15 years for the mare and birth for the home bred. I would imagine that those records would be "proof of ownership" should I ever need it.
        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

        Comment


        • #5
          I would think that papers would HELP prove ownership, especially in a case where there was no evidence to the contrary.

          I think at least 50% of horse owners probably don't have black and white proof that they own their horses (a detailed bill of sale or a brand card). But most of us won't ever be in a situation where such proof is necessary, either, so no one really worries about it (for better or worse).

          I have lifetime brand cards for both of mine, which not only lets us travel as we please but also gives me peace of mind that if anything bizarre DID happen, the state would recognize my ownership. For Jude, the inspector looked at his bill of sale, which is pretty much a joke as it basically has my first name, "sorrel gelding - paid" and an unreadable signature. For Tari, he accepted the "Transfer of Ownership for Eligible but Unregistered Foal" that was filled out and signed by all in preparation for registering her.
          Proud member of the EDRF

          Comment


          • #6
            [QUOTE=Bluey;5288071]Many people don't, because they are training the horse and selling it again soon, or just trading horses and, as long as they don't need to show or breed, they don't need for that horse to be registered in their name.[QUOTE]

            I am not questioning you, but isn't it the responsiblity of the seller to transfer the horse at the time of the sell?

            2010 AQHA Rules... page 64 overall... page 20 of 27 SECTION II.
            Registration Rules and Regulations

            (f) Seller’s Responsibility: The owner of record at time of
            sale has the responsibility for completing an AQHA transfer in its
            entirety and for delivery of it to AQHA.
            (1) The seller must provide on the transfer report the correct
            name and registration number of the horse, date of sale, name and
            address of buyer, and signature and address of seller. The seller shall
            immediately deliver the transfer form, along with the registration certificate,
            to AQHA, along with any other documents required to complete
            the transfer of ownership. .....

            http://siteexec.aqha.com/association...onrules_10.pdf

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by PRS View Post
              Two of my horses are grade horses. One of them is a home bred and I don't have papers on either one of them. I have every one of their coggins papers and vet records going back 15 years for the mare and birth for the home bred. I would imagine that those records would be "proof of ownership" should I ever need it.
              Don't be so sure about that. A friend had a horse stolen and had to buy it back at New Holland. Coggins and vet records, along with the horse answering to her name, were all not enough to prove she owned the horse.

              Originally posted by clanter;5289801I
              am not questioning you, but isn't it the responsiblity of the seller to transfer the horse at the time of the sell?
              I'm not sure how the quarter horse registry works, but with the jockey club, when you sell the horse you put your name and the new owner's name on the papers. You initial and the new owner initials. When my horse was sold to her second and third owners (I am her fourth), the first owner had put his name and initials on the 'seller' part, but owner 2 and 3 both knew they were going to sell her again so they did not bother to initial the 'buyer/new owner' part. So, according to her papers, she went from her first owner/breeder straight to me.

              Comment


              • #8
                How about if you have your horse microchipped? We do have bill of sales on both our horses.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I don't know of anyone that does or ever did that.
                  Everyone signs a transfer and that goes with the certificate to the seller, according to what the seller and buyer agreed on.

                  Some wait to send the buyer the certificate and transfer until the money has cleared.

                  When I buy a horse, I take the registration certificate and transfer paper, along with a check, to the AQHA office in person, they are some 50 miles from us.
                  They process them right then and I walk off with the certificate, now in my name as owner.
                  No one ever said "wait, the rules say the seller is supposed to take care of the transfer!".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As mentioned before, in "brand inspection states" (e.g. Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Washington, and about 15 others), brand inspection travel papers are the ONLY legal "title" to an animal (this is only for horses). It is too easy to change the name of an owner in any registry, club, or association to rely on that as proof of ownership. Even with brand inspection, while it is still possible to get around the regulations, at least there is a public record of witnesses being present (seller/agent, buyer, state brand inspector) in the transfer of ownership. A bill of sale is OK, provided it is signed and witnessed with differential inks etc. It is pretty easy to make up a bill of sale with today's technology otherwise.

                    My experience taking horses in and out of TX is that it is pretty easy to BS proof of ownership there. I have been pulled over for "inspection" and they took random papers as proof. In AZ, CO, NM etc. I had to show a brand inspection card and they checked it against the animals in the trailer at port of entries.

                    Reed

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes it is the sellers responsibility to transfer a horse according to AQHA. Even if you sent a horse to an auction and gave them the transfer papers, it is still your responsibility to make sure the papers get transfered to the new owner.

                      However, no one I know does this. What seller is going to pay the transfer fee? I've always been given the papers to send in the transfer and pay the fee.
                      Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That is definitely going to vary by registry. I know AHA does not purport to require the seller to submit the paperwork, though I know sellers who do simply to try and keep the horse and his/her papers together and current.
                        Proud member of the EDRF

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OK color me dumb (or really, just someone not from a "brand inspection" state) but what are brand papers? Do all horses in those states have to have a brand? What about breeds/owners who don't brand their horses? How do you prove ownership?

                          I'm from Illinois and I've considered trailering my horse to Oklahoma or Texas to show. If I was stopped I'd have no way to prove I owned my horse, other than the ASHA registration papers - which I do not carry with me. I might have a copy on hand but I usually mail that in with my show entries so I never carry even a copy. I don't have a bill of sale (and even if I did, how would that prove anything? I could have typed that up on my computer and printed it out...).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            No, they don't have to have a brand - it's just called that because they do all types of livestock (some of which are more likely to be branded than others ).

                            A bill of sale is the easiest way to prove ownership, but I imagine if you called the inspector you could figure out some other way to prove it if necessary.

                            You should always, ALWAYS carry proof of ownership with you when transporting across state lines! If you are stopped and asked for paperwork, you can be in a whole lot of trouble if you don't have that (and the officer is smart enough to ask for it, of course ). Until I first moved to a brand inspection state, I carried a copy of the bill of sale (useless-looking as it was). If I didn't have that, I'd definitely carry reg papers - I'm guessing that in non-brand card states, most officers would accept that, but that's JUST a guess. As it is, my brand cards go with us wherever we go (across state lines), even out east where they weren't specifically required.

                            If you are crossing state lines with horses, you should have for each horse at BARE minimum, proof of ownership, a current Coggins, and an interstate health certificate.

                            Other requirements may vary by state (like trip permit numbers), but I also always carry reg papers for the horse who has them and their current vaccination paperwork (especially for rabies) - just in case.
                            Proud member of the EDRF

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And if you are moving to some states you may want to check things out WITHIN the state. Nevada, for instance, is divided into regions....and you legally HAVE to have brand inspection if you haul from one region to another (with one specific exception.....a single ranch with property that crosses the regional dividing line....this exception also exists for ranches that cross state lines out here...for instance a ranch in Susanville, California may also have grazing property or grazing rights in northern Nevada....the horses belonging to that ranch wouldn't have to have brand inspections to cross the state line or health cert....they would need a current coggins....good for a year here). It is hardly ever checked but if it is and you don't have it you risk impoundment of your vehicle, trailer and horse until it is cleared up.
                              Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                              www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                              Northern NV

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by bugsynskeeter View Post
                                Yes it is the sellers responsibility to transfer a horse according to AQHA. Even if you sent a horse to an auction and gave them the transfer papers, it is still your responsibility to make sure the papers get transfered to the new owner.

                                However, no one I know does this. What seller is going to pay the transfer fee? I've always been given the papers to send in the transfer and pay the fee.
                                Same here, all 6 of my QH purchases and transfers were handled by me, not the seller.
                                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by coloredcowhorse View Post
                                  And if you are moving to some states you may want to check things out WITHIN the state. Nevada, for instance, is divided into regions....and you legally HAVE to have brand inspection if you haul from one region to another (with one specific exception.....a single ranch with property that crosses the regional dividing line....this exception also exists for ranches that cross state lines out here...for instance a ranch in Susanville, California may also have grazing property or grazing rights in northern Nevada....the horses belonging to that ranch wouldn't have to have brand inspections to cross the state line or health cert....they would need a current coggins....good for a year here). It is hardly ever checked but if it is and you don't have it you risk impoundment of your vehicle, trailer and horse until it is cleared up.
                                  I have a mental image of a poor horse grazing his way across some invisible line and a police officer walking up to him and asking where his proof of ownership is....

                                  Someone needs to draw a cartoon!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Some Legal Comments

                                    A few courts nationwide that have addressed the issue have concluded that the horse's registration papers -- by themselves -- are not conclusive evidence of ownership. There are too many variables, many of which have already been raised here, that make the papers too unreliable as clear indicators of ownership.

                                    Over the years I've received calls from people in the midst of serious legal problems because of any number of things, such as:

                                    (1) they cannot receive registration papers in their name; or

                                    (2) they've been sued from a horse-related injury, but insist they had no ownership interest in the horse and should not be a party to the case;

                                    A carefully-worded bill of sale, combined, of course, with a transfer of the registration papers, is a great way to avoid the problem. The bill of sale document should specify that the seller has clear legal title (free of liens and encumbrances) and has the ability to sell the horse. It can also state that the seller has registration papers in his or her name (with a copy attached so the buyer can confirm) and will transfer them immediately to the buyer.

                                    -- Julie Fershtman
                                    www.equinelaw.net

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      So what about those of us who bought horses almost a decade ago and no longer possess the bill of sale (which was vague at best anyway)? I paid cash for her, so no check would have been on record anyway.

                                      Or what about the bill of sale I got for my then-not-named gelding? All it says is "Arab colt". No color, markings, birth year, nothing.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
                                        So what about those of us who bought horses almost a decade ago and no longer possess the bill of sale (which was vague at best anyway)? I paid cash for her, so no check would have been on record anyway.

                                        Or what about the bill of sale I got for my then-not-named gelding? All it says is "Arab colt". No color, markings, birth year, nothing.
                                        I would say it depends on the situation.

                                        If your horse gets out and causes a wreck that kills six people, you can feign ignorance as to who owns that horse and the other party will have to find a way to prove it was your horse.

                                        If your horse is stolen and you find it six months later in some barn the thief sold it to, with a proper bill of sale to the buyer, you will then have to prove it was your horse, that was stolen.

                                        There are many other possibilities where you may wish or not prove the horse is yours after all.

                                        Right now, to prove horse ownership, you need to ask your attorney how best to do that in your situation and state or even county, as the legal possesion they are, no different than your TV set or living room sofa, the way I understand it.

                                        That each horse then would have their own ID card was one of the provisions of NAIS, that would have helped provide ownership, as it also restricted it and our use of it thru other regulations.

                                        Proving horse ownership is a tough legal question right now.

                                        Our state cattleman's association, TSCRA, has regular freeze brandings at local vet clinics, where you can brand your horse and get them registered with them.
                                        They have recovered every horse stolen that was in that program up to now, if I heard right.
                                        Don't know how much that may help, but it would prove that at that time at least you do own that one horse.

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