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Horse ownership/ selling issue

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  • Horse ownership/ selling issue

    I'm posting this for a friend, and I have done my best to keep all the information correct. I'm going to refer to the friend as "I", just to keep the story clearer!

    I was approached 4 years ago by a friend about a horse she was helping train. The owners were ready to sell the horse, but she wanted to keep training it and see if it could take her anywhere as a trainer. She asked if I'd be interested in it, as a safety net, if the horse didn't end up working out for her. This agreement was never put into writing and no money was exchanged. She purchased the horse and showed it under her name.

    When she realized the horse was not going to reach the potential she had hoped, she gave the horse to me with the understanding that I would pay $5000 for the horse when I had the money. This was not in writing. I was very unsure of this because I did not believe the horse was worth this amount, and I did not think the horse was going to work out as a mount for me.

    3 months after taking the horse to my property it was injured, and although it is 100% sound for riding, it has effected it's resale value significantly.

    I've had the horse for 2 years now, I have not made any payments on the horse and have expressed to trainer many times that I am not able to ride the horse well. Trainer is not willing to help with the horse or take it back.

    The horse does not work for me. He is too big, too strong, and I do not like riding him. I spoke to trainer and she basically said that no one else will want him and I'd just lose money if I try to sell him. I have not heard from her since.

    With difficulties selling him aside. I was never given a bill of sale for this horse. I have his papers but that's it. If I sell him what it to stop her from interfering? Is there a time limit on when I have to pay her back the original amount she paid for him?

    How can I get myself out of this mess of a situation??!
    Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to buy a horse

  • #2
    Ethically speaking, "I" still owe the money. I agreed to buy the horse and pay when I had the money. I shouldn't have agreed in the first place. I think a verbal agreement does carry the same weight as a written agreement. With that being said, boy this is a mess!
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible

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    • #3
      Sell the horse. Pay back the trainer.

      Take lessons.
      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

      Originally posted by LauraKY
      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
      HORSING mobile training app

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      • #4
        You need to clear this up with the trainer before trying to sell. Offer her a smaller amount and get a bill of sale. It doesn't sound like she cares too much for the $5k.
        Still Crazy After All These Years

        Comment


        • #5
          Are "you" on good terms with the trainer? And she doesn't want him back/won't help you sell him?

          I think she's doing you a favor by not asking you for the $5K. She might be willing to do you another favor and give you a bill of sale. Hell, offer to give him back to her to resell if necessary. If you have had him for 2 years, know he won't work for you, you are losing money just by feeding him.

          Why not just ask her for any of these solutions so that you can get this horse moved on?
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

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          • #6
            Wow...I'm an idiot for buying a horse for 5k that I didn't think was worth it, not getting anything in writing and keeping it for 2 yrs when I can't really ride it. I hope I learned my lesson. I think I would try to give the horse back to the trainer to sell, and pay them the difference between what it sells for and the 5k I agreed to. And I'd make sure I get any agreement about this horse in writing, and get written receipts for any pmts I make. I'd also do a contract outlining my verbal agreement, making sure it shows the price and no time limit, and that upon receiving the full amount the seller will give me a bill of sale.

            Comment


            • #7
              If trainer still owns the horse (i.e. has not or will not give a bill of sale) then give the horse back. If you own the horse (b/c you will get a bill of sale) then sell it.
              https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
              Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
              www.PeonyVodka.com

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              • #8
                Man, what a sticky situation. The bottom line as I see it is that the verbal agreement is just as binding as a written agreement. Friend agreed to purchase horse for a set price, and hasn't done it yet.

                It doesn't matter if the horse is no longer worth that price anymore. There have been many purchases where the horse was injured (causing intense loss of value or even death), and that never voided the original purchase. Your friend wouldn't ask for a refund if money had actually changed hands along with the horse, would she? Then why try to do what amounts to the same thing, since no money has changed hands?

                It doesn't matter if friend doesn't like the horse, can't ride the horse or doesn't want the horse. She entered into an agreement to buy the horse and she should follow through. Why would she agree to buy horse at any price if she was "unsure" about it? Being unsure at the time she entered into the agreement with the trainer is no excuse not to fulfill her end. If she was unsure at the time, she could have just said, "No thanks" and left it at that.

                She won't be the first person to lose money in a horse related transaction, and she won't be the last. She should inform the trainer that she is selling the horse, and then she should use whatever money she gets to pay the trainer the price she agreed to, making up any difference from her own pocket. Regarding the time limit within which friend would have to pay the original purchase price? I don't know about the law, but ethically she should pay the whole purchase price she agreed to, regardless of how much time has elapsed.
                Sheilah

                Comment


                • #9
                  This story must be the 90 millionth example of why you never, ever buy or sell a horse without a bill of sale. While verbal contracts are enforceable, it's going to cost $$$$ in lawyer's fees to do it. This situation hardly merits the effort.

                  It is time for the friend and the trainer to have a frank, heart-to-heart talk about the horse. Some sort of deal needs to be struck over how the horse will be sold and how the proceeds will be divided. Have the talk, put whatever is agreed in writing, sign it and go forward.
                  Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                  http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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                  • #10
                    What a great friend.

                    She buys a project horse & has you waiting in the wings if it doesn't work out for what she wants to purchase for $5000. What an excellent back-up plan.

                    I would start trying to sell said horse. It sounds like friend doesn't want him & you don't either. For 2 years she had the chance to either pick up the horse or ask you for payment which she hasn't when you expressed you didn't like the horse. I am sure you'll hear from her if she has an issue with it when word gets out he is for sale.
                    "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The way I see it-

                      Friend made a verbal promise to pay trainer for the horse. Friend can't back out just because she doen't like the horse (unless BOTH parties agree to back out). She owes the trainer $5000.

                      But she doesn't OWN the horse, and therefor can not SELL the horse UNTIL she pays the trainer the promised $5000.
                      Janet

                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

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                      • #12
                        I would load the horse up in my trailer and drop him off at my "friend's" place. No bill of sale, no contract so I would think it unlikely my "friend" would have any luck enforcing a verbal agreement when there is no evidence that I paid one red cent for this lovely horse especially when he is no longer in my possession.

                        Then I would whack myself in the head 3 times to teach myself a lesson.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I was very unsure of this because I did not believe the horse was worth this amount, and I did not think the horse was going to work out as a mount for me.
                          Why would anyone take home a horse that has an agreed upon price that they do not want to pay because they think the horse is not worth that and not the type of horse they want?

                          The way I read the OP it sounds like the OP owes the trainer $5,000 and then they can sell the horse for whatever they can get for it.
                          That is what they agreed to. Bad business decision does not mean it was not what was agreed to.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OP--I'm curious in the 4 years since "friend/trainer" made this verbal agreement has she ever tried to contact you for payment of said horse? Does she even inquire if you have the horse or about payment? Are you still even friends?

                            While I understand there was some sort of verbal agreement at some time, it has been so long & nothing has been enforced. Is friend/trainer really going to spend the money on a lawyer to pursue collecting $5000 when they haven't even tried themselves in the past 2 years to collect payment? Has the current owner ever been sent a invoice or bill for the $5000? Current owner has tried to make contact with friend/trainer about the situation & can't get a returned call--horse wasn't what friend/trainer wanted & it appears they have washed their hands of the it.
                            "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RenaissanceMare View Post
                              I'm posting this for a friend, and I have done my best to keep all the information correct. I'm going to refer to the friend as "I", just to keep the story clearer!

                              I was approached 4 years ago by a friend about a horse she was helping train. The owners were ready to sell the horse, but she wanted to keep training it and see if it could take her anywhere as a trainer. She asked if I'd be interested in it, as a safety net, if the horse didn't end up working out for her. This agreement was never put into writing and no money was exchanged. She purchased the horse and showed it under her name.

                              What, precisely, did you say to her and what did she say to you in this discussion?

                              When she realized the horse was not going to reach the potential she had hoped, she gave the horse to me with the understanding that I would pay $5000 for the horse when I had the money. This was not in writing. I was very unsure of this because I did not believe the horse was worth this amount, and I did not think the horse was going to work out as a mount for me.

                              Again, precisely, who said what to whom? If she "gave" you the horse then that's a gift. It needn't include papers to be a gift. If you agreed to pay her $5000 then maybe it wasn't a gift. But what you agreed upon is determined by your words, not your conclusions.

                              3 months after taking the horse to my property it was injured, and although it is 100% sound for riding, it has effected it's resale value significantly.

                              I've had the horse for 2 years now, I have not made any payments on the horse and have expressed to trainer many times that I am not able to ride the horse well. Trainer is not willing to help with the horse or take it back.

                              This suggests to me that the horse was a gift. If the trainer was a seller they would be looking for their $5000. What, precisely, has the trainer done to collect any money?

                              The horse does not work for me. He is too big, too strong, and I do not like riding him. I spoke to trainer and she basically said that no one else will want him and I'd just lose money if I try to sell him. I have not heard from her since.

                              When, exactly, did this conversation take place? And, again, who said what to whom?

                              With difficulties selling him aside. I was never given a bill of sale for this horse. I have his papers but that's it. If I sell him what it to stop her from interfering? Is there a time limit on when I have to pay her back the original amount she paid for him?

                              Are the papers in your name? If so that is substantial evidence of ownership. A Bill of Sale is nice but not necessary.

                              How can I get myself out of this mess of a situation??!
                              The short answer: hire a lawyer.

                              A longer answer: From what I've read it looks to me like you entered a "feed lease" on the horse with the option to buy the horse for $5000. Have you been paying for the upkeep of the horse (feed, vet, farrier, etc.)? For the entire two years you've owned the horse? If so that makes the "feed lease" argument that much stronger.

                              If the horse is not yours then load it up and return it to the trainer's barn. Leave the horse and papers in a safe place. Problem solved.

                              If the horse is yours then sell it to whomever you wish. If the trainer is unhappy they can hire a lawyer and sue you. Problem solved; mostly.

                              G.
                              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Until G's questions get answered, I'd try to reunite this horse with whoever has his papers. Reverse the little trail of how he arrived with you, give him back. This is messy. I'm not a pro like G is but it seems to me that if you've been taking care of him and nobody has asked for payment you've basically been doing the "feed lease" and hopefully that is something that you can terminate at any point. Nobody has asked for a payment in this whole two years? You don't have papers? Have you asked for his papers? And you've incurred all expenses? And you've been clear you don't want him? You've been horse-sitting. But I'm not the law; the law is much more complicated.
                                “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Ok, got some answers! I think...

                                  The trainer purchased the horse from the breeder to show in the jumpers. The idea was, if the horse was not able to do the higher level jumpers the trainer wanted, she would eventually pass the horse down to my friend. I was obviously not there for the conversation, but it's been told to me as "if the horse worked out the trainer would keep it, if it didn't but was appropriate for the student, she would pay the price the trainer paid for it."

                                  The price of $5000 was what the trainer paid the owner. This was what the trainer would ask the student to pay for the horse.

                                  The student does not ride with the trainer anymore, but are friendly. The last time the student contacted the trainer (last May) the student told the trainer that she was having great difficulty riding the horse and didn't know what to do. The trainer stated (rather arrogantly ) that she "has 6 figure horses to worry about" and the gelding isn't really a blip on her radar. She was also not willing to come out and help with the horse.

                                  My friend (the former student) has the horses papers, but they have not been transferred into her name. Friend has been paying all bills on horse since trainer stopped riding it.

                                  Friend tells me she just wants to have the horse with someone that can ride him and not be spending the bills on a horse she can't ride.

                                  I think deep down she doesn't want to pay the trainer, especially since the trainer was not willing to help with the horse, and (whether or not the student deserved it because she agreed to it..) conned the student into taking a horse she knew wasn't appropriate.
                                  Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to buy a horse

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    When is the trainer going to ask for that money? Or is 5K not a blip on the screen either? It sounds like Friend bought the horse but hasn't paid for it yet and I'm not sure how she can get out of that unless Trainer will let her sell the horse and just give take as payment what Friend gets. Sounds like Trainer has enough money and horses that it's not as big a deal to her as it is to Friend. If I was Friend, I'd stay super friendly with Trainer and ask her if I can just sell this horse (possibly with help) and give the money to Trainer. All the room and board and vet bills are probably going to be chalked up to Lesson Learned.
                                    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Here in California, I read that the law is that verbal agreements are only binding for transactions of $500 or less. I don't know about other states. So basically without a bill of sale, money changing hands, or anything in writing no sale took place. Sounds like you've been taking care of someone else's horse.. you could just say you were leasing it. I would check the laws in your state.

                                      While I agree there was a verbal agreement, if she didn't give you the bill of sale or put any kind of payment plan in writing I don't think that the sale happened. By law, the horse is still hers. You could say you were just helping her out by taking care of the horse while waiting to buy the horse. But clearly you never really bought the horse except verbally agreeing to but you never went through with it.. and it's clearly not a good fit so any "friend" would take her horse back and sell it to someone who actually wants it.

                                      Under normal circumstances this may be a little unethical on your part, but it sounds like this "friend" stuck you with a horse she didn't want for a price that is ridiculous. It's on her for not giving you a bill of sale, asking you for money, or writing up a contract. And since it's been TWO YEARS now... well, she can't care that much.

                                      Just return the horse and tell her to sell it and keep the money.
                                      Last edited by Mi; Mar. 4, 2013, 07:40 PM. Reason: typo

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                                      • #20
                                        Based upon the new information (not totally complete but close enough for govt. work) the transaction was a "feed lease." Load the horse up and take it back.

                                        G.
                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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