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Contacting Previous Owner?

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  • Contacting Previous Owner?

    I have a little dilemma right now and I would love some COTH input! A friend let me know that they had run across a previous owner who was looking for my horse... Apparently she said she's not looking to meddle but just wanting to know if he's ok. I completely understand this, I have a mare that I sold years ago that I've always wondered about... The catch is that apparently the people who bought him from her told her that if they were ever to sell him they would let her know first. This was two owners ago. I don't know whether this was an informal verbal thing or a first right of refusal that was in writing. I would be happy to reach out and let her know how he's doing, especially since he's doing awesome However, I guess I just want to confirm that she has no legal claim to him even if they had a written agreement. I have his competition registrations in my name and will be transferring his breed registry into my name as well... I've owned him for almost a year but just haven't done it yet.

    I leased this horse prior to buying him and I have over two years of serious work invested in him, not to mention that I absolutely adore him. He is definitely a heart horse that I will care for until his last day. I feel for her, wanting to know that he's ok and I would love to share how he is doing... I just can't/don't want to risk some kind of legal mess so before I contact her I want to be sure that if there is potential for a legal issue that it would be between her and the seller she made the agreement with, not with me.

  • #2
    Why don't you just have the friend tell her the horse is doing well, and you prefer to remain anonymous.

    No reason for her to worry, but none to get in your business, either.

    Or your friend can just say she saw the horse in her travels, and he was well taken care of and appeared happy.

    I doubt that right of refusal has any standing, whatsoever, but if you don't feel comfortable, just tell the friend of the friend and leave it at that.


    • #3
      It's my understanding that right to first refusal clauses are just lip service, and aren't enforceable. The horse became the former owner's property when he/she bought him...he became your property when you bought him. Even if she wanted to go after someone in court, her beef would be with the person that she sold the horse to and not you.

      As far as contacting her...hmm...I dunno. One one hand she may just be a very nice person concerned about the welfare of her former horse who is a tad peeved right now because she didn't get a phone call when the horse was put up for sale. On the other hand, she might be bat-sh*t, flippin' friggin' effing crazy. Unfortunately you probably won't find out which it is unless you actually call her. You just never know with people these days.

      If you do call her, I'd suggest doing it from a cell phone (as opposed to a land line from home), I wouldn't offer up any information on where the horse is being kept and I wouldn't offer up any personal info. Just a run-down of what the horse has been up to and how great he is doing and testing the waters to make sure she isn't a loon. Maybe even offer to email a few current pics if she passes the sniff test (but nothing with familiar landmarks in the background!)

      It's nice to want to give her an update on the horse and maybe that's all she needs to ease her mind. Just proceed with caution so you can bail easily if she starts getting loopy with you!


      • Original Poster

        GaitedGloryRider - That's definitely my other hesitation... I've met some of the nicest, most wonderful people in the horse world but I've also met some of THE craziest loons in my life as well LOL If I do contact her I will probably do so via email at first and very tentatively...

        I'm not positive but I actually suspect I may have run into her at a show this summer as I had someone approach me a few minutes before I was about to go in the ring and tell me she used to own my horse... He's pretty unique in name and appearance. By the time I was done and through bit check though she was gone so I didn't get a name or anything... Which I guess makes me feel better about her as she could definitely have gotten weird or stalkery at/after the show. I mean, the stall charts are posted and I was stabled with my coach under the name of the barn we board, so not discreet in any way. Apparently this came up a long time ago, possibly before I even bought the horse, I just now found out as I haven't talked to my friend in a long time. So maybe she got the answer she wanted seeing him at the show (if that was her) and I should leave well enough alone. My urge to go ahead and contact her probably stems from me wondering and worrying about my mare on a regular basis despite having sold her over 10 years ago but I'm undecided as yet if it's a good idea.


        • #5
          I honestly don't see anything wrong with contacting her and if she's not too far away, having her come out and see your horse. I'll bet she'd be tickled pink to see him again.

          That said, I just finished typing my annual Christmas note to the people that bred, raced and evented the horse I bought from them in 1999. While they are in NJ and I'm in NY they still send me a Christmas card and brief update and I send them a card and a typed note on my boy.

          I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


          • #6
            I hate that we all spend our lives being so suspicious. Give her the benefit of the doubt, she loved the horse just as you did and is interested in how she's doing. I sold a lovely mare 7 years ago and am so happy that I hear how she's doing.


            • #7
              If you are not comfortable, let your friend tell her that the horse is doing well and in a loving forever home


              • #8
                I think there are more good people in the world than bad ones. I am always grateful for updates about my boy Tanner whom I sold four years ago (he was a gold medalist at the Canadian National Vaulting Championships this year, woohoo!) and my boy Farallon whom I sold in 2000. There are other horses from my past that I'd love to hear about again!

                I don't see the harm in sending her a friendly note and some pictures if you can get her email address. Do unto others, right?
                My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives


                • #9
                  I found the lady who bred my horse shortly after I bought him and called her out of the blue. She lives in another state, and had no idea where he'd ended up. She was really happy to hear from me, happy that he had a good home. I then emailed her current photos and she sent me pictures of some of his full brothers. It was a great conversation, and now she's on my Christmas card list. I know we need to be careful, and if she'd rebuffed me at all I would have understood, but if the situation were reversed I'd want to know where one of my horses had ended up.


                  • #10
                    I'd ask your friend to get an email address, and send her some pics by email, and tell her how loved he is. Based on the feeling you get from correspondence, you might invite her over to see him. If she's weird, then don't invite her.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by didgery View Post
                      I think there are more good people in the world than bad ones.
                      True.. but the bad ones can be really fricken crazy.
                      "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).


                      • #12
                        Oh for heaven's sake call her yourself. For no other reason than the golden rule "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Wouldn't YOU want info on your mare? Would you get all stalker-ish? Of course not. Odds are this woman won't either. She may have had right of 1st refusal, but as someone said that's not really enforceable. Most people want that right just so that they know where the horse is going.

                        Besides, you say this is his forever home, and I hope that's true but things happen and you may need to place him. Wouldn't you want to be able to offer him to her, or at the very least get her to help you network him?
                        ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                        Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                        "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


                        • #13
                          There's no ownership issue. It appears that the OP has a bill of sale and all the requisite evidence of horse ownership (including empty bank account ). Why not contact the person?

                          I'm a breeder and a sales barn. I love hearing about all "my" horses from their owners. Do I want them back? No, but knowing that they are well and in a good situation always makes me happy.
                          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                          • #14
                            Im not sure I would Email ( you know how some people are very good at figuring out things) her but rather write a note. a general generic paper. Write it saying you had heard that she used to own your horse and was (or should it be were?) wondering how horse was doing. give information in not so specific terms as in he is doing well, loving her life etc.. then hand it to friend as she seems to have some sort of contact with old owner.
                            Friend of bar .ka


                            • #15
                              Exactly what Kryswyn said. Having a network in place for your horse is a great thing. While there are some crazy people out there she may be a great person to get to know.
                              Because of the animals in my life I have been blessed with some amazing friends.


                              • #16
                                I would be careful. When I bought my horse the woman seemed fine with it, she was sad to see her go but was OK with it. Two weeks later her father called saying the woman had ended up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown and wanted the horse back.

                                The woman then contacted me a year later saying her and her son were coming to Alberta and wanted to see my horse to make sure she was doing well. I ignored her email. I'm sorry, but here are nutty people out there, I can't imagine how this lady would react even now if she knew Willow had died.


                                • #17
                                  If she sounded normal to your friend, I'd try contacting her. I kept in touch with the previous owner of my first horse, and now keep in touch with his retirement home on occasion. I also (through COTH, actually) found Moose's racing owners and have been in touch with them. There are more non-crazy people in this world than crazy people, IMO.
                                  Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                                  • #18
                                    I'd probably contact her, but don't friend her on Facebook. The original owner of my gelding traded him to someone who wasn't supposed to sell him, but who ended up selling him to me. Well, the first owner found out and somehow found me on Facebook. (I've never thought to ask her how, actually, but presumably she saw the other guy's FB page and saw me tagged in a photo of my horse and then clicked on my name and then saw my horse's photo as my FB profile picture because my entire profile is blocked to strangers otherwise.)

                                    It's fine that she found me and I've friended her because she enjoys hearing how he's doing and such, but it can get annoying when she offers unsolicited advice or thinks she shows more or knows better than I do. I've found myself blocking her on a regular basis from seeing my status updates or photos because seriously, I don't want to deal with her ridiculous comments at times.
                                    "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by msj View Post
                                      I honestly don't see anything wrong with contacting her and if she's not too far away, having her come out and see your horse. I'll bet she'd be tickled pink to see him again.

                                      That said, I just finished typing my annual Christmas note to the people that bred, raced and evented the horse I bought from them in 1999. While they are in NJ and I'm in NY they still send me a Christmas card and brief update and I send them a card and a typed note on my boy.
                                      I agree with MSJ on both counts.

                                      I have regular (email, cards, etc) contact with the woman who bred two of my horses. We do not live close or anything but she appreciates the updates.


                                      • #20
                                        Murphy's former owner is the friend of a friend so we kept in touch after I bought him. She was fine. Her boyfriend, however, was annoying. Murphy was "his" horse and they only sold him to pay for this guy's drug rehab. Several times when I was talking to the gal on the phone he would grab it and ask to buy "JT" back. They live on the other side of the mountains but the rehab center in only a few miles from me. When I moved to my farm I neglected to give them a forwarding address. It's been 10 years though so I just put together a packet of photos and am going to send them to the former owner with a Christmas card.
                                        Crayola Posse - Pine Green
                                        Whinnie Pine (June 4, 1977 - April 29, 2008)
                                        Autumn Caper (April 27, 1989 - May 24, 2015)
                                        Murphy (April 28, 1994 - May 5, 2017)