My sister (17 yrs old) aquired a horse (18yr old quarter horse) about two years ago from a stable she was volunteering at. The owner of the horse is in the military and had left the horse in the care of the stable. (I don't know if she was paying board or what) The horse was being used for lessons and what not, and the owner wasn't very fond of that, so she asked her friend to keep this horse at her personal barn (where the owner was supposed to send down $$ to help cover feed, but never did).
My sister followed where that horse went and started riding him at the personal barn with the owner of the barn. The owner (military lady) of the horse liked the idea of her horse only having one rider and she gave my sister full permission to ride him whenever she wanted.
After keeping him at the personal barn for the entire summer of 2011, my sister wanted to move him cause he was getting too beat up by the other horses and she had the opportunity to move him to a barn right down the road from us. She talked to the owner (all of there communication is done by email b/c the military lady is rarely in state due to being in the military). The owner agreed to let her move him so she moved him to the barn right by us strictly under my sisters care.
My sister has been paying for his feed, coggins, vet bills, farrier bills, and anything else strictly out of her own pocket. The military owner never sent down a dime to help cover expenses.
A couple of months ago the owner was in town and ASKED if it was okay if she could come visit him. My sister said yes and they had a very nice and civil meet and greet with the horse and owner and the owner left without any problems.
Within the past week, the horse has come down with a very serious ear infection. He's getting treatment and should be fine, but the owner is all of a sudden unhappy with the situation and is telling my sister she will be down in a few months to move the horse to a new home.
Does this horse even belong to the military owner anymore? The coggins are in my sisters name and everything. There was no bill of sale or any signed documents between them, but my sister is absolutely broken hearted that this horse (her first horse, if it can be considered hers) is going to be taken away from her after solely caring for him for over a year.
Is there anything we can do or does the horse still technically belong to the owner and she has the right to do whatever she wants?
We live in Florida if that makes any difference about laws.
If you're still reading, thank youn so much for your time.