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Sticky situation. Advice Needed.

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  • Sticky situation. Advice Needed.

    Long story short, I have a horse in training at an established facility. Certainly not BNT but they get the job done and the care is great.

    I seriously hurt myself and asked the trainer to market my horse (6 months ago) since riding would be out of the question for quite some time. I was told a few people came and test rode. No results. Now, I'm hearing different stories from different parties.

    Then I get fired from my job. Boss said it was because Obama won the election and he outsourced to India instead. So, 150 lost their jobs that day.

    Lived off of my savings while searching desperately for a new job. Savings depleted in what seemed like no time. I was very honest with the trainer. I'm out of a job and I need to lease/sell/give away the horse. I lived off of tuna and ramen for months so I could pay my bills.

    Note: I always paid on time and often helped out around the barn when I could. I did whatever I could to be a 'good' client. There were people that never paid and rarely showed up. There still are.

    I finally got a job and am getting back on my feet. However, I did fall behind on my board a bit. It was either pay my rent/eat or board. I was at an all time low. I sold off everything I own to pay her while I was out of work--furniture, clothing, jewelry, washer/dryer, etc. You name it and I sold it. I literally have nothing left.

    Contacted original owner/breeder of horse and asked if they were interested in a re-purchase. They said yes. So, sold horse and paid trainer off.

    However, trainer kept my tack trunk and all of its contents (which were all *brand spanking new*). I'm being told that it is considered 'collateral' and they can keep it. Am I crazy? I understand that I was at fault. But, after paying my debt off in full they can't keep it, can they?

    In the sale I agreed that all of the custom made tack would be included in the price. Now, I'm learning that the trainer took it all. Is there anything I can do?

  • #2
    I think a place to start is taking a deep breath.

    Then... you say you paid your trainer off? then why is she keeping the tack?

    Make a ledger of how much you owed her for services, how much you paid her when the horse sold, etc. Include any interest that might have been part of any contract. Did you owe her more then what you paid?

    Then make an objective list of the cost of your trunk and your tack.

    If you paid her like you said you did, then she has stolen property. It's simple - call the police or contact a lawyer. But if you owe her more money and she's keeping your tack because of it, then it might get sticky. Be as objective as possible regarding what you owe her and what the actual worth of your tack is and approach her as professionally as possible.


    • #3

      Too many extraneous details and bad math...


      • #4
        The Obama comment made me think troll.

        But if the tack and trunk were included in the sale of your horse, then it is no longer yours. The person who bought the horse might want it, but I guess I'm not seeing the issue here. Is it that the buyer wants the tack and you can't get it back from the trainer? The simple answer is no, the trainer can't keep the collateral if the debt is paid off. The collateral is kept only if the debt is not paid off. If the trainer refuses to give back the tack, gather all of your receipts, make sure you DID pay all the debt off and sue them in small claims court. You don't need a lawyer. They will probably give the stuff back without a trial. If it does go to trial, and is as simple as you say, the judge will award you back your stuff. (getting it back will be another story, but the law will be on your side, at least). Good luck.


        • #5
          If the person who bought your horse does not want the tack then it's still yours as far as I can see! Contact Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown, either one of them would take your case on and give that ex-trainer of yours an earful, I'm sure.

          It's only considered "collateral" (I would think, I'm not an attorney) if they were holding it until you paid your bill, which you did! As far as I know the minute you paid your bill it became yours again. You can't just take other people's stuff, or sell it, or give it away because you think you're entitled to it and feel like doing so!!!! There are laws in place to punish people who do this very thing....

          Do you have a lawyer you can call and have him/her send your ex-trainer a letter? That might be enough to get the trainer to fork over your stuff--surely the trainer doesn't want his/her name in the paper and his/her name dragged through the mud over this....
          Have we learned nothing from the Romans???


          • #6
            sticky situation

            In TN, I cannot hold your horse or your "stuff" legally because you owe me $$$. I can take you to court for what you owe me though. Here if someone pulls that crap, you take the police & go get your stuff/horse. Been there/done that.


            • #7
              First off, congrats on the new job.

              Good luck getting the tack though. We had a horse in 'training' for a while and when we made the decision to move him, the tack we had provided was nowhere to be found. We did not owe the trainer any money and his justification for the missing tack was 'whoops'. My parents did go to court over the mess but the money they got back was far less than the cost of what was gone.

              All the best getting things sorted out.


              • #8
                If you don't owe her money any more then essentially she has stolen the tack and all the contents of the trunk.

                There obviously may be more than one side to this story, but if the facts are as indicated then it's pretty cut and dried.

                But, of course you'd have to be able to prove what happened in small claims court. Do you have receipts for what you lost? Do you have the boarding/training contract? Do you have the cancelled checks for your payments to the trainer?

                Forget all of the stuff about what your employer said or didn't say about why you were being laid off. Forget about the various stories you may have heard about whether the trainer actually did try to sell your horse.

                You need to boil the story down to its essence, get your documentation in order and then go to small claims court. Or, if it's a larger sum, contact a lawyer and get the lawyer to send a letter to the trainer demanding the return of the tack or its itemized value.
                "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bayou Roux View Post

                  Too many extraneous details and bad math...
                  What on earth is wrong with some of you people on this board?!!

                  Do you really think folks struggling in this economy have nothing better to do than to sit here and entertain your notions of what a TROLL is?

                  Get over yourselves, I'm struggling with 4 dogs and 2 horses and just found out Friday I'm loosing my job. Am I troll??????? **beating head against wall**
                  Chronicle of My Horse
                  Secret Passage Ranch
                  **a member of the
                  Riders with Fibromyalgia & Adult Re-riders Clique


                  • #10
                    Also, did you have a contract with her to sell the horse and pay her commission on the sale?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bayou Roux View Post

                      Too many extraneous details and bad math...
                      Troll? Why? I could see this happening to someone for real.

                      Just going to agree with others. If you did pay the trainer off in full, then I would think keeping your tack and trunk is stealing. Do the current owners of the horse you sold WANT the tack? Is the trainer keeping it from them? Or do they not want it and you are just taking it back to keep? Either way, if the trainer is paid off then she has property that isn't hers.


                      • #12
                        Sorry to disappoint, but, I'm not a troll. Just an average person with an expensive hobby trying to get by during these tough times. But, more importantly, trying to do what is best for this horse.

                        I have all of the invoices and proof of payments (final one included). I used a certain account for everything horse related. I also have proof of the contents of the trunk (everything was ordered online and receipts were archived in a special file) for insurance purposes.

                        The reason I included the contents of the trunk with the sale of the horse is because the original owner asked if I had any tack/blankets/etc. for sale. I said yes and since most of it was custom made for the horse that they could take it. They paid me an additional amount for these things so they wouldn't have to go through the hassle of ordering everything new.

                        I have the boarding/training contract saved and it doesn't mention a commission being required unless the trainer is the one to sell the horse. So, as far as I'm concerned I owe nothing more.

                        The horse will have a wonderful (permanent) home for life. However, the owners (whom I've known for quite some time) have offered to let me ride the horse as much as I'd like. They are only taking it to make sure it has a good home and they don't ride anymore due to old age.

                        Its a huge relief to know that the horse will be okay and I'll have one less expense. Now, I have to deal with this trainer and get these belongings (tack trunk with contents and the rubber stall mats--all of which I paid for) back.

                        I have a few lawyer friends who could help me out if need be. I would like to be nice and avoid any legal matters BUT I refuse to be taken advantage of.

                        To all of you who have faced hardship, thank you for understanding and offering words of support. It is very difficult when you are on your own and lose your job. But, it certainly taught me a lesson that I will keep with me for life-- SAVE SAVE SAVE and material goods do not bring happiness.


                        • #13
                          If you've paid all you owe, then the trainer is trying to pull one over on you. I'm guessing at some point they decided you weren't going to pay, opened your trunk, and the "stuff" vanished- add up the contents and take them to small claims court.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
                            If you've paid all you owe, then the trainer is trying to pull one over on you. I'm guessing at some point they decided you weren't going to pay, opened your trunk, and the "stuff" vanished- add up the contents and take them to small claims court.
                            I totally agree. You don't need a lawyer to go to small claims court...a friend of mine did it herself with no problems. As long as you have proof that you paid the trainer's bill, then the trainer does not have a leg to stand on. And don't forget to sue for the court costs too.

                            Good luck!!


                            • #15
                              I'm sorry you are going through a rough time but am glad you found a good solution for your horse. Ordinarily I'm a "take the high road, try to play nice" kind of person but what your trainer did really rubbed me the wrong way. I have no patience for people who take advantage of those in a bad situation. Since you have lawyer friends I'd recommend having one of them send her/him a strongly worded letter. Sometimes the mere threat of legal proceedings can make people suddenly do the right thng. You can always go the small claims route but there is a cost associated with that. I hope you get your stuff back or at least compensation for it.
                              If I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I'd put shoes on my cats.


                              • #16
                                Contact the new owner to see if trainer has passed the tack on to them. If not
                                then the person that has your tack trunk is in possesion of stolen property. If your
                                contract to sell this horse does not say anything about tack and trunk in it then
                                it actually belongs to the new owner of the horse.

                                Get your ducks in a row so to speak. First talk to the new owner of the horse if they
                                haven't recieved the tack from the trainer then send a registered letter to the trainner
                                (return reciept requested) include copies of all the paid bills and agreements remind the
                                trainner they have no right to hold your tack and that they have seven days from the time
                                of reciept from this letter to return it or pass it on to the new owner of the horse. If this is
                                not done then you will be taking legal action against them.

                                Sometimes a stiff threat will get you somewhere. However if they don''t return it with in
                                the desiganted time period then be ready to take them to court.


                                • #17
                                  I would call local law enforcement and have them meet you at the trainer's facility to file a report on your 'stolen' property. A friend had something like this happen to her about 10 years ago, and as soon as she showed up with the sheriff's deputy (and me in tow for entertainment), the trainer said it was all a misunderstanding and forked her stuff over. It's usually a good intimidation move, especially if you time it for her busy time of day with clients. Regardless, it would be helpful for you to have the report even if you end up having to take her to court. You mentioned your belongings were insured, so you can also use the report to file a claim and let the insurance company go after her.