Right of First Refusal

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Right of First Refusal

This is a discussion on Right of First Refusal within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    02-18-2013, 12:28 PM
Right of First Refusal

I notice with a lot of animal ads (I'm a Craigslist addict) people seem to want the right of first refusal should you no longer want the animal you bought/got from them. I think this is silly and idealistic for a number of reasons, and since this is a horse forum, I'll stick to horses.

For the most part, I'm going to put more into a horse's value than it was how I got it. To be expected to return it for free or the cost I paid for it isn't fair, and I would feel weird calling up the previous owner and saying they can have the horse back for the new sale price. It would feel like a ransom or something.

I have always been of the opinion that once I purchase an animal or it sets foot on my property, it is mine to do with as I wish, as long as it is cared for. I don't mind sending the occasional update but I don't like feeling pressured or obligated. So if I want to sell them off to a friend or someone offers me a big chunk of money or the horse just didn't work out, I'm going to do so.

Also, as for the people on Craigslist, most of them seem to be in a horse must be gone by x date! State of mind. I've seen horses kept in neighborhoods with 2 strands of barb wire and no shelter to speak of, so why on earth would I send it back there, just because of a sentimental previous owner who didn't have the means for proper care anyway?

Some of these ads even come with threats! If you take my horse and resell it I will call the cops or report it stolen! I don't have a bill of sale on some of my horses but I have shot records and receipts for feed and care, just in case. I'm not even sure how you'd go about calling the police for that. Help, I gave away/sold my horse and now they won't give it back! I know for more professional type places, like rescues, can sometimes come with a contract saying the horse has to come back, but that's also why I don't adopt horses.

So, what do you guys think of rights of first refusal? Do you ask for them? Abide by them? Ever been called out on it? I can answer no to all three, myself.
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    02-18-2013, 12:36 PM
Originally Posted by Nightside    
Some of these ads even come with threats! If you take my horse and resell it I will call the cops or report it stolen! I don't have a bill of sale on some of my horses but I have shot records and receipts for feed and care, just in case. I'm not even sure how you'd go about calling the police for that. Help, I gave away/sold my horse and now they won't give it back! I know for more professional type places, like rescues, can sometimes come with a contract saying the horse has to come back, but that's also why I don't adopt horses.

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I would never buy a horse from someone with that on the ad. Right of first refusal usually won't hold up. You give up your rights to a horse when you sell it. Its more of a suggestion of good measure then a demand.
Speed Racer and Muppetgirl like this.
    02-18-2013, 12:44 PM
If its in your contract for the sale then it will hold up.

However I see it as this. If someone has that in there and everything seems okay with the horse and owner then I have no problem because if I get rid of it they are simply wanting to ensure that their old horse doesn't end up at a slaughterhouse because you don't want them anymore. Its sometimes silly but if I know and trust the person I would never have a problem offering to sell back to them upon my choosing to sell.
jaydee and TurkishVan like this.
    02-18-2013, 12:45 PM
First rights of refusal aren't legally binding. They're only useful if the person who bought the horse is honest enough to actually call the previous owner and offer them the horse again.

The current owner isn't required to offer the horse back to the previous owner for the amount it was sold to them. You can put whatever sale price on the animal you want. If you're polite and offer the previous owner the chance to buy it first, that doesn't mean they get it for a discount. They can either pay the price you're asking, or turn you down.

People who put threats or unreasonable demands in their ads/contracts have no legal leg on which to stand. If they were so concerned about the animal and love it so very much, they shouldn't be selling it in the first place. Another demand that really grinds my gears is a 'forever home'. Oh really? YOU can't or won't offer the animal a forever home, but you expect someone else to do something you weren't willing to provide? Cry me a river.

I will not let you come and view my property for your 'approval'. You will get vet and farrier references, as well as references from other horse people if you ask. You will NOT come to my property, nor expect me to let you see Snookums once I own him.

If you can't live by my terms, don't sell me your horse. You don't get to come and drive a car you've sold to me, so what makes you think a horse is any different? You sold it and now it's mine. You have NO say in what I do or don't do with it.
    02-18-2013, 12:48 PM
Green Broke
First right of refusal is subjective.

The way I see it is that you let them know you're selling and your price for the animal. If they say no, then you can sell to whoever and not have an issue. First right of refusal has nothing to do with the price in which you bought the animal. Period.

Others think that you'll sell back for the same price you bought and throw a fit. BUT, if you look into the meaning of the words "First right to refusal", it says nothing but the fact that you have to offer them the horse for whatever you're selling for before you offer to sell to someone else. That's it, cut and dry explanation.
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onuilmar likes this.
    02-18-2013, 01:23 PM
I tend to avoid ads/horses with that in the title. I've actually had someone ask me what I had to hide if I didn't really like the idea of them checking up on the horse. If you have seen my other threads, my horses are all a good weight and groomed, with the exception of the ponies that I bought in worse condition than they are now, but still aren't great. Someone I got a horse from emailed me the other day and said they drove by and didn't see the horse I bought in the pasture and wanted to know where she was. Uhh... creepy! She is in the pasture, you just can't see every inch of my property from the fence, and I like to keep it that way. There was no contract or anything to make it their business.

Anyway, the forever home thing also bugs me for all the reasons you said, Speed Racer. I would say a horse is with one person for a few years at a time, for the average person. The longest I've ever had a horse was about 5 years, my first and second horses. When they no longer become suitable for my needs or wants, they will go on to someone else. Maybe they're getting older and better suited to a lighter or beginner rider raider that isn't looking to go fast or do much, maybe I switch disciplines, maybe I can't afford as many as I have or in my case, I want to be able to save up for a dream horse, so I'll sell off one or two eventually to help with that. I don't have any false ideals about keeping an animal for 30 years, much less a pasture full of them. Life is too unpredictable for that.
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    02-18-2013, 01:31 PM
Just like SR said, right of first refusal doesn't mean free our the same price you paid.

I signed a contact with a right of first refusal clause and if I ever sell the horse, I intend to honor it. I would not, however, be offering the horse at the same price I paid.

I paid $500 for a very green horse that had basically been backed a few times and potentially had a bucking problem.

I've put almost a thousand dollars into him so far for training, and plan on putting a lot more until I have a finished dressage horse.
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Speed Racer, Celeste and BBBCrone like this.
    02-18-2013, 04:18 PM
I had "Right of First Refusal" on some horses I bought. Its really not that big of a problem to call the previous owner up and inform them that you're selling. If anything, you might get a quicker sale if they say yes.

Previous owners who make demands need a reality check. Once they sign that bill of sale, they are no longer in control of that horse. I wouldn't buy a horse who's owner was that posessive/controlling. Theres a big possibility they'll cause problems down the road.
Speed Racer likes this.
    02-18-2013, 04:19 PM
I sold a horse with a contract, payment contract and right of first refusal. Why? I had owned the horse for 9 years but no longer had use for her. She is a finished youth barrel horse. I didn't add the price but I hope it's the same, because if and she most likely will be sold again I will buy her back. I know her new owners, only reason I sold her to them so hopefully they call me first.
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    02-18-2013, 04:25 PM
We sold my gelding with the clause right of first refusal. It's mainly in case the horse gets injured and cannot perform anymore, or has training problems, or something happens to the owners, we would like to be notified before an auction house or a kill buyer can be. If the horse increases in value, of course we would like to know if the horse is up for sale, but if we can't afford it, we won't buy the horse. But if the horse is selling for a large amount of money, odds are it won't end up at a sale or auction house. We still have sentimental value for the horse, and will happily buy the horse back to sit in our pasture if anything detrimental happens to it.
TurkishVan likes this.

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