Trial period nightmare! Has anyone been through this?
First time horse seller here. Will try to be concise..
I sold my 17 year old QH mare to a man with a 10 day trial period. (mistake #1)
Was told the trial was only to see if she got along with his 2.
We had a contract that stated:
If she gets injured, he notifies me immediately, and is responsible to seek medical intervention..and pay for all vet bills and meds.
He has the right to refuse to buy her before 10th day.
I have right to inspect and refuse her back if she is injured. (not pre-existing injury or condition)
I also gave a list of conditions for the trial. 1 of them was no hard riding.
@ 2 days into the trial, after being stalled for 2 days, she came up lame with a fetlock injury.
His vet came that day to check her over anyway, and offered bute and joint meds. They gave her neither.
Vet said possibly happened during the 3 hour trailer ride. And might be an old injury that was tweaked.
He has two 15 year old girls who care for his horses for him as he is part time in residence (rich lawyer.. country cabin/farm)
The girls rode her almost daily while she was limping and swollen. I have emails updates from one of them claiming riding at the jog, trot and lope and mentioning that she was still swollen and limping while riding.
On the evening of the 8th day, the girl called to tell me she was almost completely lame, worsening since day 6 and they didnt want her.
I again asked if they called the vet as per the contract, and they stated no. No first aid, no stall rest, no wraps, no ice or heat.
They are now insisting this is a previous injury and therefore I cant refuse her back.
The man is now trying to drug her up to be able to handle the 3 hour ride again.
I am still refusing to take her back. My vet is against moving her at this time with this injury.
While I owned her, She was boarded an hour away so I didnt have much contact. I've owned her approx 5 years. I no longer ride.
She was used for lessons there for many years with no problems. she also does several trail rides per year with no problems.
I contacted the vet we used who states she has never treated this mare for a fetlock injury. And will write an affidavit about it for me.
I have a possible statement from another woman who taught lessons at this barn for over a year using this mare with no problems, and is unaware of any history of fetlock injury or lameness.
She was also still in use as a lesson horse up to the day I sold her with no problems.
Yet the man insists there was one, and refuses to keep her.
They came up 2 weeks prior to purchase and rode for 2 hours with no evident problems.
They also inspected her on day of purchase and she was sound, not swollen and not limping.
I am holding a personal (I know.. stupid) check for the entire amount that I cannot cash because we are now disputing the purchase.
I feel he violated the contract by not notifying me when she worsened.. not seeking medical attention, not applying any first aid or meds, and for the girls riding on a fetlock injury making it worse.
He wants to seek a mediator for the issue, but none are available in my area. I am on fixed income.. single Mom.. and NO money for board and or horse bills.. so I dont want her back. He states they are not keeping her.
Wow. I don't know much of anything about law, but I think that you've done a lot of right steps, making sure you have all the paper work, the trial is clearly explained on paper, what you AND he agreed to, and you have your vet who's willing to "testify" that the horse had no prior injury when she was "sold". I hope that you guys can come to a satisfactory conclusion to this mess.
You were told they were riding the horse while it was sore and swollen and you did not intervene. Sorry - this goes back on you.
3 hours or not, I would of been in my truck with the trailer behind it.
I dont have a truck.. or a trailer. Or a way to get her, or the money to rent someone, and no where to bring her back to. She was boarded elsewhere while I owned her and due to an injury of my own, and many other circumstances.. I basically paid her board. But wasnt able to be an active participant in her life.
She went there on a Tuesday night. She stayed in her stall for 2 days due to inclement weather. Thursday when their vet came to check her out, she apparently showed swollen and limping.
Their Vet told them it should work itself out in 3 or so days. I was under the impression from emails that she was healing daily.. less swelling.. hardly limping, and improving each day. Than no word for a few days until they hit me with She is almost completely lame, getting worse over past few days, still limping at the trot, hardly bearing weight, very swollen, doesnt want us touching it and we dont want her.
Up until then, I was under the impression they were giving her meds as they called and asked my permission to do so on day 2. And that a vet was advising them on her care. As soon as I found out they hadnt notified the vet of her worsening condition, I insisted they do so as per the contract. I also at that point demanded they stop riding her and follow vet instructions as to her care until we could resolve this issue.
I was told on day 10 that the vet had finally come back, and gave them bute to give her for 2 days so they could trailer her back on Saturday. Thats when I refused to take her back and the fun began.
Honestly I can't believe you want to leave this horse with these people. I understand that they didn't follow instructions for her care and now you're going to be out some money, but I would feel terrible leaving this poor horse with them. They've already treated her like crap, her next step is probably an auction (and the meat buyer) if she stays with them.
If it was me, I would take the horse back and do my ****dest to take these people to small claims court to have her vet care paid for.
Unfortunately this situation is not that uncommon when trial periods are offered and exactly the reason many people would refuse such a deal. I know you said you sold the horse, but in actual fact you haven't so ultimately the responsibility will fall on your shoulders. I do sympathise with your situation but it sounds like you may have to do the best thing for the horse to ensure that she is returned to health and a suitable home is found for her.
There are a couple of areas in your agreement that I think will cause some problems for you:
The trial barn is obviously not a safe place for her. If she was on trial and they hadn't wanted her at the end of the ten days, what would you be doing with her? legally, you would have to take her back. You claim you do not have a barn for the horse now? I know it's financially hard; my mom is a single mom and we have 7 horses on our property. The horse has to come first, though.
MLS, I think she meant she was stalled the first two days, after she came up lame she was not on stall rest, but being ridden?
OP, I do feel sorry for you because of your financial straits, but the fact of the matter is that the horse belongs to you, and whether or not you have a place to board her is immaterial.
Unfortunately, as Sarah pointed out, your contract has huge holes in it that any attorney worth his pay would be able to get past.
I'm sorry, but you need to make arrangements to have her boarded, and take her back. If you have to, give her away. Many people have done that, just to get the animal off their expenses.
I'm not sympathizing with the buyer, but I can see it from his angle. Had you sold the animal outright you wouldn't be having this issue since most horse sales are 'as is', unless explicitly stated otherwise in a binding, signed contract.
I do feel badly for you, but I feel the most sympathy for the horse, who is caught in the middle of all this through no fault of her own.
Really? In what way?
I was trying to just stick to the basics in the OP because this is the Horse Law section of the board not the cry me a river part. Since you asked for more clarity, I tried to offer more details. Sorry if you couldnt follow along.
So some more basics than Im done with this board.
I came to the Horse Law section for advise from anyone who had been in a similar situation. Thats why I asked if anyone had been through it.
What I didnt ask for was pissy comments placing blame at my feet as if I havent gone through heartache over this entire situation. I dont mean to sound callus about it, I just didnt want to muddy up this section of the board with personal feelings. I was seeking advise on a legal matter from those who had been through it. My bad.
If it makes you feel better to know.. I lost my spot at her old facility. Most people who buy/sell around me have already done it for the year and have settled in for winter. No openings around me. No one wants a lame horse on property. I didnt feel the need to mention that Ive called around already since thats not what the thread was for. Again.......My bad.
And I'm pretty sure I mentioned...... yup, I did .....
that my vet doesnt want her moved right now. so yea, it isnt ideal for the horse to be there.. but its worse to trailer her. I cant pick her up and carry her so guess what?
And no.. I dont 'want' to leave this horse anywhere. But as stated.. it is what it is for now. Its not a financial hardship.. Its monetarily impossible. Because her previous stable used her for lessons, I paid next to nothing. I wont be getting that same deal anywhere with a lame horse. But until this is worked out. There are no other options. My magical money tree has dropped all its leaves for the winter.
If I was sticking around, I'd go post that in the you suck as a horse owner section so you could all have at me.. but I see how this forums treats the inexperienced newcomer and Its not for me..
Thanks for all who tried to offer up some support or thoughts on the contract. I appreciate that.
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