Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Just south of sanity
I'd cut my losses and find another horse I could own outright without all the attendant drama, as well as find another barn.
No way would I sign any contract after the fact, nor would I stay with a trainer who acts like that in front of a child.
This may turn out to be an emotionally expensive lesson for you and your daughter, but you should NEVER take on an animal for which you haven't received a bill of sale, even if it's for $1.00.
I got JJ for nothing. He wasn't a rescue, but the idea is the same. His previous owner drew up a bill of sale for $1.00 and we both signed it. I didn't give her a dollar, but this makes my ownership legal and binding.
If you want to fight this, you may have to get the courts and attorneys involved. However, if the trainer 'gave' your daughter the horse without the express permission of the rescue from where it came, you may have to give up the animal.
If there's a rescue involved, the legal system may determine that the horse belongs to them and not you.
Do you really want to have a court battle and pay through the nose for legal fees over a free horse? I wouldn't. There are plenty of good horses out there for minimal cost or even free.
Why waste your time and money trying to prove that you're 'right' and the rescue and trainer are 'wrong'?
Yeah, it stinks that a child is probably going to lose her horse, but it was up to you as her parent to make sure this didn't happen. Never trust anyone with a verbal-only agreement. If you don't get things in writing, situations like these can and will happen.
I feel badly for you, I really do, but many times we have to learn lessons the hard way.