I've seen that quite a bit over the years for a couple of reasons. They aren't breeding quality and the seller wants to prevent breeding of that animal (less likely someone will breed a grade mare) or the horse is a cull and the seller doesn't want that horse attached to their breeding program.
I do find it a bit strange that the horse would be advertised as registered and papers not come with. Those with reasons I have seen either get ran thru a sale barn or sold as grade and one would never know papers existed. I think it's pretty shady to advertise one as registered and try to sell the papers separately for more money.
Though it probably isn't likely, if you can get the seller to sign a transfer the physical papers don't matter the AQHA will issue a duplicate.
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