After checking with his previous owner first to see if she wanted to buy him back as we had agreed she said she couldn't afford it right now so I listed him on the net. I wasn't sure how much interest I would get in a 19 year old horse but he is solid and reliable for the most part and within 24 hours I got a huge amount of calls and emails about him. I also got an email from a lady saying he was her horse that she leased out a long time ago but had lost contact with the woman who had him, the last she had heard was about 3 years ago when the woman who had him asked if it was ok for him to go to another lady in the same area.
I was pretty shocked but even more so to find out that he is closer to 25!
I rang the lady that I brought him from and told her about the email, she was shocked too and said that she would ring the owner to sort things out since I brought him from her in good faith and shouldn't have to deal with it. She spoke with her and explained that he had been given to her about 4 years ago by a woman who got him from the original lady who leased him. All a rather complicated story made more confusing by the fact that neither the original leasee or the lady that gave him to the person I brought him from can be tracked down.
I ended up going over to the ladys house who I brought him from that night and we rang the original owner and had her on speaker phone so we could all talk together. She is happy for him to stay where he is as she said from the photos he looks very well cared for but to just let her know if he does ever get re-homed. I don't really have any reason to doubt her story as she knows a lot about him, if she had demanded him back then I definitely would have done some more digging and I doubt legally she could have reclaimed him having no papers for him - I would have put up a fight too.
So now am back to square one with a much older horse than I thought I had but I now find myself quite happy to keep him - I feel like the pressure is off to exercise him so much and he's probably perfectly happy with a light hack once a week. And I know that if a situation ever arises I have two people (the original owner and the lady I brought him from) that are happy to give him a great retirement home.
I guess these situations probably happen more often than not with horses going out on lease and the owner losing touch with them then being passed on from person to person. The only thing that stung a bit was that I didnt know the lady I got him from was given him for free and I paid her $2000 for him 2 years ago. We have discussed this and she has offered to help with his upkeep which is great since I know she didnt have enough up front to get him back.
Anyway if you read this novel well done and I now have a lot more respect for my sometimes crotchety old man!