Long story short - I purchased a horse and the bill of sale is in my name. I couldn't afford board at the time as we already had one horse at the barn and agreed to let barn owners use this second horse for lessons and trail rides in exchange. They are now under the impression it's their horse. We are getting set to leave that barn with both horses. If there is nothing in writing except my bill of sale is it still my horse?
The bill of sale in your name should be good enough to prove that the horse is yours.
Why would they assume the horse is theirs, just because you were letting them use it in lessons in exchange for board?
He's turned out to be a great horse for lessons and they have used him in trail rides. They have other horses and none of them are gentle enough for them to ride. Problem is that the level of care has gone down and they are no longer reliable. We have shown up too many times to very little water, not being fed as agreed, and turnout schedule is so far out of whack. Paying for a stall and she is never in - even supplied a fan for each of them. Sad story. We got lucky and found a place that we can afford for both of them and trust the new people will care for them and not just see $$$$
You had nothing in writing with them regarding your use in exchange for board contract?
Who has been paying the farrier and vet bills for the horse?
Have you communicated with the barn owner that you are taking Dobbin and it caused a problem or are you assuming they will have an issue?
They offered me nothing to sign at all. They paid for his farrier, no shoes just trim. I haven't said anything yet as we just found a place. I just have a feeling they are going to cause a problem - there has been a lot of other "drama" lately and they are not the same people they were when we moved in :(
If there was no contract for "you don't have to pay board if you let us use your horse," I would assume they can say you never paid board and put a lien on your horse. Legally speaking, with no proof otherwise, it's possible.
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For future reference... A contract serves both sides. If they do not offer a contract then you write one out on a piece of toilet paper with the dry erase marker from the white board.
This might be a situation where it makes sense to remove your horses, then hand over notice with your final month board payment (including board for the horse that they used since they will not be using the horse so you do owe board on it).
So if we moved during the month and before the next month board was due - leave a check for the board for the portion of the month that we are gone? I'm sorry for all the questions - just kicking myself for not doing something in writing. It will break my daughter's heart as she has ridden this horse for 5+ years and is very attached.
I would make sure to go about things calmly and professionally. Tell them that you have greatly appreciated their service and everything they had done for you, here is your 30 day notice and board payment. Good luck.
As Ricci pointed out, they may issue a lein (my phone autocorrected to Leinster - how odd) for board due. If nothing was put in writing that you do not owe board as the horse is working it off, you may not have much of a leg to stand on; they have proof you didn't pay board.
As Ricci said, approach it 100% professionally and normally.
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