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A Legal Question .......

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  • A Legal Question .......

    I wish to sell my horse, but want to include in the sale contract a condition that ensures it is returned to me for re-sale should anywhere down the line the buyer decides they don't want to/can't keep the horse. The general idea is that the horse is returned to me so that it can be re-homed by me with the purchase price obtained refunded to the previous owner, less any costs for board and keep.

    Would it be binding if such a clause was added to a sale contract?

    I also want to add a clause concerning the horse being pts, such as the new owner having to notify me if this is done in an emergency, or giving me the option to have the horse examined to see whether such a course of action can be averted.

    The history behind this is that the horse being sold is a "rescue" case, and I want to ensure its continuity of care for the rest of its life.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Or if such condition of sale was binding, would it be better to say that I will buy the horse back at the price it was sold for rather than trying to sell on their behalf?

    Comment


    • #3
      You can put a right of first refusal in your contract; however, there is no guarantee that the purchaser will comply. Are you willing to litigate if they fail to comply?

      As to the PTS clause.... if it is truly an emergency, do you honestly expect them to stop and call you when stuggling with such a difficult decision? You may very well be scarring potentially good buyers off.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not a lawyer, but my undersdtanding is that such clauses aren't binding, or are so hard to enforce as to be practically non-binding. This is a property transaction; if the new owner decides to do something with their personal property, the best you could do is sue them for whatever damages are set forth in the contract (for ex, if they chose to sell the horse on without giving you first dibs, if there was some stipulation that this action would incur $x as a consequence, or something like that). You would be unable to recover the property itself, that belongs to the new owner.

        Or at least that's what I've gathered from reading previous such threads. There are people here who'll know way more than me. But what's usually recommended if you want to retain control is not to sell the property, but lease it.
        Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          No, I had added an "unless in a medical emergency" part to it. I don't wish to put buyers off, my aim is to ensure I can keep track of the horse and be assured that the buyer is aware that they can't just sell on for slaughter for instance without there being a good reason for doing so.

          Hopefully once a contract is signed the buyer will comply with the terms, as I know litigation would run into a lot of money, but I am aware that there is a possibility that the terms will not be complied with so I guess there are no guarantees.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Coanteen View Post
            Not a lawyer, but my undersdtanding is that such clauses aren't binding, or are so hard to enforce as to be practically non-binding. This is a property transaction; if the new owner decides to do something with their personal property, the best you could do is sue them for whatever damages are set forth in the contract (for ex, if they chose to sell the horse on without giving you first dibs, if there was some stipulation that this action would incur $x as a consequence, or something like that). You would be unable to recover the property itself, that belongs to the new owner.

            Or at least that's what I've gathered from reading previous such threads. There are people here who'll know way more than me. But what's usually recommended if you want to retain control is not to sell the property, but lease it.
            I hadn't thought about a lease actually, that might be an option! Thanks for your reply.

            Comment


            • #7
              The only way to ensure the future of your horse is safe is to keep it. Offering a free lease is the only way to make sure you retain some control. Horses are property and once you sell property you have no right to it.

              Comment


              • #8
                A good lawyer can draw a contract to meet your needs but you need to ask yourself what are you really trying to achieve. If you want to maintain control over your horse, then yes; a lease may be a better option for you.

                Moreover, Remember you get what you pay for. Free advice on Coth is not the same as going to a lawyers office, sharing the facts and having them draft an appropriate contract or lease.

                Keep in mind, if you want to sell, many great buyers do not care to get caught up with a kookie seller. Vet potential buyers well but be realistic about your expectations. I do not want to feel like I have a former owner snooping into my business. (There are numerous threads on here where that has been debated.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  A contract is only as good as your ability to enforce it.

                  Leasing is probably a better bet for you if you want to keep track of a horse but even then, you need to make sure you check on the horse periodically. There have been many horror stories of leased horses that are sold on without their owner's knowledge.
                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                  • #10
                    I think what you are proposing is going to be too difficult to enforce. Besides, what happens if the horse colics, the vet says it will cost $10k to save it but the owner opts to put it down because they can't afford the surgery? If you came in and decided to "look for other options", what if that person couldn't afford what you proposed as suitable care? There are also too many emergency situations one could envision where the timing would not make it possible or even practical for the new owner to contact you.

                    If you are this worried about the horse, perhaps you should keep it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NeedingInfo View Post
                      No, I had added an "unless in a medical emergency" part to it. I don't wish to put buyers off, my aim is to ensure I can keep track of the horse and be assured that the buyer is aware that they can't just sell on for slaughter for instance without there being a good reason for doing so.

                      Hopefully once a contract is signed the buyer will comply with the terms, as I know litigation would run into a lot of money, but I am aware that there is a possibility that the terms will not be complied with so I guess there are no guarantees.
                      If you want to keep track of your horse then don't sell it.

                      Within broad guidelines you can put anything you want to in a contract. But your enforcement mechanism is civil suit. Are you willing to pay a lawyer $250/hr. to enforce these "restrictive clauses?" If the answer is "yes" then go ahead; if the answer is "no" then be honest and realize that when the check clears the bank the horse is no longer yours.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thank you for all of your advice. I have read many horror stories regarding leasing, but I do think this might be an option with a proper agreement in place. I am concerned that I may not find someone prepared to lease though. Given the current economic climate I am simply concerned for his future and unfortunately circumstances dictate that I am unable to keep him. Its a heart-wrenching decision, but he has so much to give so deserves the best home I can find for him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You really can't have it both ways, sell the horse and keep control of it too.

                          That is what leases are for.

                          I have sold some older horses telling the new owner that I will take the horse back if he doesn't work or they want to sell it again and they tell me they will, a mere verbal agreement.
                          No contract, just their word and you know, every one of them has let me know how the horse was doing, even one that moved 6 hours away told me they expected the horse will live it's life with them, but if anything changes, they would let me know.

                          I have bought two horses back, one when the lady I sold him to was diagnosed with cancer and had to give him up.

                          In life, you can only do so much, but I don't think many buyers today would sign any very restrictive contract on a horse, but move on and find someone that will sell them the horse outright.

                          Good that you asked this question, as it seems you need to think about this with more to go by.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If I was on the market I would pass on your horse no matter how good of a horse it was.

                            Your contract would have "bat-poop crazy seller" screaming at me in big red flashing lights.

                            As others have said:

                            1. If you want full control, keep it.
                            2. If you want control with very low risk, lease it.
                            3. If you sell it, don't kid yourself. You will have no control regardless of what's in the contract.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No rational buyer would agree to your terms. There are a lot of great horsepeople out there, so just do the best you can to find a qualified buyer, develop some trust in their horsekeeping standards and financial security, and ask for right of first refusal. To help make sure that you would be able actually buy him back if the time comes, I recommend starting a bank account dedicated to Dobbin. Immediately deposit any proceeds from the sale, and then every paycheck add a little bit until you have his purchase price plus several months' board just sitting there. Note that first refusal only gives you the choice to buy him back or not-- if you decline, you don't have any say about what they do with Dobbin.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                How does first right of refusal work? At what price?

                                For example...I saw a horse listed for $500 & the owner wants 1st buy back refusal. Say I have the horse 6 months while investing training & showing into him, I am not going to be selling him for only $500.

                                Do I offer the previous owner first option to the horse at XYZ price (what I want to sell for) or does it have to be at the price I purchased?
                                "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I guess the price of the ROFR would be whatever both parties agree to. Personally I would not agree to anything other me setting the price at the time of sale, no ifs ands or buts.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You would have to put the details in the contract--ie, if the seller demands first refusal, determine the price (only an idiot would buy a horse with ROFR clause where they could only sell it back to the seller for what they paid for it or less, for example, no matter what value might get put on the horse, and it would be a dumb seller who'd agree to a set price when they might be buying back an injured or elderly horse.) Decide what penalty accrues if the buyer fails to follow up on it. The PTS clause would be even harder because it brings vet opinions and cruelty laws into it plus questions like what if the horse needs a $5000 colic surgery RIGHT NOW and the owner can't afford it and just wants to euthanize right now? Would the seller be able to override that? Who would be responsible for paying for surgery?

                                    Honestly, HungarianHippo's right, no responsible buyer would buy a horse with that kind of contract and very few would even take a lease with those kind of medical clauses (unless the PTS "override" made the "seller"/lessor financially responsible if they override the "owner"/lessee's decision to euthanize). There are just far too many options for buyers right now that don't come with a laundry list of strings that put all the burden on the "buyer." Horses are personal property, not adoptive children--if you SELL your property, it's no longer yours. Leasing would be the only way to retain any rights.
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                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      There is someone on Craiglist right now that keeps trying to get his 5 year old with 90 days riding leased, started at $250 a month, now wants $100.
                                      He only wants an experienced rider.

                                      I guess he is not getting any takers.
                                      Why?
                                      He has that backwards.
                                      People pay to get a colt ridden, not pay to train someone else's horse for them.

                                      I know that is not the OP's situation, but it shows how everyone that has a horse may think the world should work to fill their wishes.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Right of first refusal - okay. You can request that they contact you first if they ever intend to sell the horse, giving you first option to purchase. That's a fairly common clause. However, it is also often ignored. Also, the purchase would likely be at the horse's new current value. If they put a lot of money into training and showing, for example, it isn't fair that you expect to buy the horse back at the original price.

                                        The other stuff - kind of crazy. I wouldn't sign a contract allowing someone else to retain that level of control over a horse I had purchased. If you want that much control, I suggest you keep ownership of the horse and only lease it out.
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