Horse Law in Virginia on Ownership

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Horse Law in Virginia on Ownership

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    05-31-2013, 11:23 PM
Horse Law in Virginia on Ownership

I am seventeen years old, and I have technically "owned" my horse for years now. My mother kicked me out and confiscated my horse even though my name is on the registration. She lost her custody due to abuse on me and my brother. She still keeps the horse and won't give her back though. She has even threatened to shoot the horse and I'm very worried.

The horse is a registered Appaloosa mare, and my current guardian(my dad) wants me to have the horse. She cannot be made to give the horse and she has threatened to forge my name on the papers and change it to her name so I can never get it back. She says the only way I can have the horse back is if I come back to live there, and I can't because she is very abusive.

Is it illegal to go on her property and lead the horse out of the field and through the woods even though she is mine? She is registered with the Appaloosa Horse Association and VHSA/BHSA under my name and was in the top 10 for multiple divisions for 2012.

I don't want to go to court but will if I must. I could go tomorrow while she is at church with my grandfather(they are 7th Day's) but I just want to know if it is against the law. I don't want to be in trouble for claiming my own horse. It is so frustrating and I just want her back. The police cannot give her to me if we call them because she has her property fenced off and in stock, possession is 9/10 of the law, but I used to live there, so I know where the fence breaks.

Please give me your input.
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    05-31-2013, 11:26 PM
Green Broke
The horse is not "yours", its your mothers. You are 17 and don't own anything in VA. If you steal it you will be a criminal.
    05-31-2013, 11:30 PM
There is no question about who owns the horse. My father owns the horse because any property belonging to a minor belongs to their "parents" legally. My mother is not my parent on my birth certificate nor in a custodial way. She is my sister by law and has no rights over me. I was adopted by my grandparents, so she is not my mother technically.

Also, I will be 18 very soon. Will I be able to claim the horse then since I am on her papers as the sole owner? The animal has been abused where it is as well. She has been beaten in the head with fists(that's what I've seen) and drugged with Ace at shows when she was younger so she would win.
    05-31-2013, 11:39 PM
Unfortunately as a minor you can not own property and can not sign a binding contract.

Great quote from a lawyer relative "I took a course in law school on juvenile rights. It was a very short course, because juveniles don't have a lot of rights."

So Joe4d is right, if you go on the property to take the horse it could be considered stealing. Don't do it, it will damage your credibility and any claim you have on the horse once you're 18.

I think your best is to ask the family's court judge that ruled on the custody issue to make a ruling about the horse.

Sorry you're going thru this, that stinks.
    05-31-2013, 11:40 PM
Registration papers don't generally prove ownership. Bills paid for the horse go a longer way to showing a horse is yours. It doesn't matter what her relationship is to you on paper.

Let her put it up for sale and see if you can get a friend to buy it for you, then sell it to you.

Or risk it in court.
    05-31-2013, 11:45 PM
Ah, I didn't know that. If I added the name of someone who is over 18 years of age to the documents, do you think that would give me more means to go after the horse?

I have tried to get my horse back from the moment I left. She has not paid the bills on her - my grandfather has. But unfortunate for me, he lives in with her and will do anything she wants.

I wish she would put her up for sale, DancingArabian, but I doubt she will. Most likely, she will try to breed the horse, since she has excellent bloodlines.
    06-03-2013, 08:54 PM
Sorry you have a bad relationship with your mother, that is so sad. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about the horse, your grandfather pays the horse's bill and your mother is his daughter (I assume?). Maybe one day, the clouds of anger will lift and you & your mom will work things out & she will let you have the horse back. Soon I hope.
    06-03-2013, 09:19 PM
Super Moderator
I think where you run into problems is that the horse is on your moms property and she is paying for it's care. If I remember right, if you were to board a horse at someones property and then miss your payment, I think it's three months, the owner of the property can take possession of the horse.

I think you would have to get a lawyer involved to get the horse back.

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