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College sells donated horse to dealer/missing horse

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  • College sells donated horse to dealer/missing horse

    From netposse-

    This person donated a horse to Stoneleigh Burnham at the end of last yr with agreement to take horse back if it doesn't work out. Tries to visit horse in April and told horse didn't work out and was sold to a dealer.

    Be careful donating your horse to colleges if you don't want them to be sold/auctioned/slaughtered. Get everything in writing/check out school's policies for horses they no longer want.

  • #2
    Happen to us 30+ years ago too.

    Local college was starting an equestrian program, asked for donations for school horses.
    Everyone here donated a horse, we did too, a 10 year old registered heavy set arabian, a very good, quiet ranch horse.
    He was branded with his arabian angle number on the neck.
    We were told when they don't use him any more, they would return him.
    Program went well for six years, we checked here and there and they loved the horse.
    Then new director came in and changed the program to breeding and starting colts, school horses were sold to a trader.
    We found out several months later, no one would say who the dealer was, said they didn't know.
    We put the word out every place, but never found our horse.


    • #3
      That is just horrible.. the school board should be made aware-- if there is enough attention the school should be shamed into changing their policy. There is no reason for them not to make an effort to let people know-- they are teaching horsemanship and management after all.
      www.windhorsefrm.org and on Facebook too!
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      • #4
        What was the contract? Was returning the horse an option or a requirement? It makes a rather large difference.

        When you donate property you no longer own it. The donee is free to dispose of it in any way they wish. If you keep an ownership interest then you've not donated it, you just donated the use. If this is the case then any disposition is at least a civil matter, and may even be criminal.

        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


        • #5
          I see no point in the school not turning over the information EXCEPT that the director of the program is making a profit that the school doesn't know about. After all, the horse cost them nothing. So if the director reports that they sold a horse for $1,000 that's $1,000 for the school. HOWEVER if the former owner contacts the dealer they might learn their horse was purchased for well over $1,000 and hmmmm, I wonder where the difference went??

          I would contact the school and raise a ruckus. Stoneleigh Burnham as a private school depends a lot on donations and I'm sure they wouldn't want the bad press associated with what SHOULD be a transparent transaction.
          ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
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          "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


          • #6
            That's not unusual at all. Some colleges send them to auction when they're done. You're naive to think otherwise...right of first refusal rarely works out, in my experience. By the way, it's not a college, it's a private girls college prep school.

            I doubt the riding department head pocketed money, it's more likely that she doesn't want previous owners harassing the dealer, or the dealer's reputation is well known enough that she doesn't want to divulge his/her name.

            If you want continued control over the horse, then you need to free lease not donate. DD polo program used to have free lease polo ponies over the winter, they went back to their owners when the season started in the spring. Win/win for everyone. If you donate, you give up control in return for that tax deduction.


            • #7
              That is an unfortunate occurrence, but to say all riding programs are like that is unfair. It totally depends upon the program/school and each should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

              A bit unrelated, but just an example of how not all collegiate programs are mis-managed.

              I was president of the riding club at the Univ of Wisconsin in the late 90s. We had (and still have) a Intercollegiate team. We had horses donated to the program. Some worked out. Some didn't. We ALWAYS took them on trial because *most* horses aren't appropriate for lessons and/or multiple riders of varying skill levels. In addition, because we were a non-profit club, anything that had a certain donation value (I think $5K or higher) had to be kept for 2 years. Anything. Truck. Horse. Tractor. Etc. That is why we made sure that horses would work for our program before we took them in. We couldn't be stuck with board/farrier/vet bills for 2 years for a horse that couldn't cover its own expenses through lesson income or paid rides.

              We also kept contracts and did our best to return horses to sellers/donors who wanted first right of refusal. If they couldn't be found or didn't want the horse back, then the horse was offered for sale to club members or students. During my tenure, we never sold a horse to a sale barn or auction because thankfully, we were able to either return them to their donor or find them a new home with a club member or lesson student.

              I have heard many horror stories about donating horses to collegiate programs and it simply breaks my heart. There is a special place in heaven for lesson/club horses. Having run a collegiate program, I know first hand how difficult it can be to make ends meet if the horse(s) are not earning their keep through lessons or paid rides by club/team members. However, that does not excuse dumping of unwanted horses into auctions or sale barns.


              • #8
                I have a dumped horse. He was going to auction because of his buck (I took two horses over the summer for DD college club) and I bought him for $1. Thankfully, the person who donated him is glad he's in a good home.

                Two chiro visits, some training and we leased him to an eventer. He's now off lease and is DD's hunter (which he much prefers). Some programs are responsible, some aren't. Some are very irresponsible. I can think of two in particular. It's up to you to completely check them out before donating your horse.


                • #9
                  Wow this makes me so thankful for my coach. Donated horses cannot be sold, given away, etc. They can be leased for the summer but thats about it.


                  • #10
                    Stoneleigh-Burnham runs a recognized horse trials. It might behoove those in Area 1 to share their concern about the disposition of this donated horse with the HT organizer. These aren't stupid people - they know where they go when sold to a "dealer".


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kryswyn View Post
                      After all, the horse cost them nothing. .

                      I'm typing this w/ a smile on my face . . . this sentence is a lie in the horse world, at least in mine.
                      "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach


                      • #12
                        This is why I would never donate a horse to a school riding program. I'll just keep the horse myself rather than see this happen. I know of too many instances where donated horses really got the shaft by school programs.
                        Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                        • #13
                          I was able to own one of the nicest horses I will probably ever have the privilege of owning because he was a pill at the school where he was donated. I'm glad the school realized that he wasn't a good fit and sold him. I paid what was a lot for me, but not so much for a quality horse that had a good show record with Gary Zook as trainer.
                          DD #1's school takes in more horses than they could ever use. The donors (many alumni) know that if the horse doesn't fit the program or is just too young and green, it will be sold. I believe the school is responsible and the it sure seems like everyone benefits.....
                          Y'all ain't right!


                          • #14
                            It happens way too often. My friend was a current student (at the time) of the college she donated her mare to. Told them if she doesnt work, I will take her home. Keep in mind, friend was in the Equine Studies program, wouldnt have been hard for program director to let her know mare wasnt working well. She came back from spring break to find mare gone. Was told "shes with a nice family who adopted her". Another friend of ours personally saw the mare run through the local KB auction over spring break. (and no, I dont know the reasons said friend didnt buy her, assuming broke college student status is to blame)

                            I'll never trust a equine program with a horse of mine.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                              That's not unusual at all. Some colleges send them to auction when they're done. You're naive to think otherwise.
                              Completely agree with this.
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                              • #16
                                horsepix76 wrote
                                That is an unfortunate occurrence, but to say all riding programs are like that is unfair. It totally depends upon the program/school and each should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
                                I am sure that is absolutely true, but I think several factors are at work here. The first is the person or people running the program. You can check out any program, but if it undergoes a change in leadership ALL of the policies and procedures may change. The second is that at a school, donations are made under the assumption that it is for the benefit of the students and learning opportunities, not the horses. Therefore, if selling horses off makes more financial sense than notifying the donors, then it is undeniable that there may be a conflict in notifying donors rather than selling the horse off.
                                I would wonder how schools would get more donations. I am sure that there are people who want to or have to stop supporting a horse and where a tax deduction makes more financial sense than selling the horse . . . and some of people probably don't want to know if the horse is going to be sold off. On the other hand, there are also probably people who would be okay with allowing students to ride a horse for a few years if they knew, for sure, that the horse wasn't in danger of being sold off because donors would always be notified.
                                The bottom line is that it is true that there is a price to be paid for the tax deduction. I do feel bad for this person and horse, though.


                                • #17
                                  Not trying to pick nits, but SBS is a high school, not a college...


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Rel6 View Post
                                    Wow this makes me so thankful for my coach. Donated horses cannot be sold, given away, etc. They can be leased for the summer but thats about it.

                                    Sure they can. If you donate any item to any organization, you NO LONGER OWN IT. The organization takes full control over the item, whether it's a lawnmower, a library book, or a horse. The organization can throw it away, re-sell it, do anything it wants.
                                    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                                    • #19
                                      The thing is, Stoneleigh-Burnham has such a good reputation for horsemanship that I can easily see why the person who donated and/or LEASED (b/c frankly that's more what it sounds like to me) the horse into their program never expected the horse to get sold out from under them. You'd expect it at certain state colleges/universities, the ones near me definitely among them, but not at a private school with the positive reputation that SBS has had for many decades.
                                      "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by War Admiral View Post
                                        I can easily see why the person who donated and/or LEASED (b/c frankly that's more what it sounds like to me) the horse into their program never expected the horse to get sold out from under them.
                                        The horse was donated. It wasn't sold out from under them...when it's donated, the owner no longer has control over what happens to it.