Man, it was so long ago that I am not sure ... and I think it was more like 30 horses, all young, and all of similar breeding. Not all El Paso*, but all from Polish/racing lines. The young horses were from Florida and were sent to an auction in Massachusetts. A horse trader bought about 20 of them; those with "the straightest legs." They were then sold, and my friend bought her from that purchaser. We found her in a field with mattress springs and old plows and tractors, just floating across the uneven and dangerous terrain like it was a cloud. She was incredible. He had some sort of document; I think it was her actual certificate of registration, but when he went to change the owner name, I think it was, that is when he discovered that she was "dead."
When he decided to breed her, one of the really big name stud handlers (I am reluctant to name names in such a public forum) really liked her, and said he thought he could help straighten out the paper situation. But when he started poking around, he said that she had been declared dead for insurance purposes, and he didn't want to stir up any trouble.
So, my friend bread her to a quarter horse instead, and wound up with a beautiful sooty wild child of a horse... cute, but what a nut case!