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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am a struggling horse owner. I love my boy very much, and right now I'm stuck on something and it's really making me stressed out/upset.

I got a call last week from the BO to "catch up" and she told me that when March comes around, if his bill is not paid (late by 2 months), she's going to take him as payment as she recalls I was thinking about selling him.

What right does she have in this? Yes, my bill is needing to be paid, but I'm not abandoning my horse. I see Murray as often as I can and make as much payments ($50-100 +) as I can on him at Sunny Brook.

Thanks for reading.
 

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As long as you signed a contract, she has EVERY legal right to take your horse as collateral until your bill is paid, or to pay your bills.

If you explain your circumstances, she MAY be willing to give you an extension or take half payment, but thats a maybe.

In all honesty you should have presented her with your situation earlier, and having your horse be reposessed could have been avoided.
 

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She is well within her rights, and actually quite nice for letting you know her intent ahead of time. I would strongly advise you to sit down with her, explain the situation, and come up with a workable plan. Are you able to make weekly payments for a set amount that you can both agree on? Caring for a boarder's horse is quite costly to the barn owner, in hay, feed, worker's wages, cost of the barn, etc. You can't expect her to just cover your horse's expenses while you're in a bind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As long as you signed a contract, she has EVERY legal right to take your horse as collateral until your bill is paid, or to pay your bills.

If you explain your circumstances, she MAY be willing to give you an extension or take half payment, but thats a maybe.

In all honesty you should have presented her with your situation earlier, and having your horse be reposessed could have been avoided.
I have no boarding contract or recipts from her.

Thank you for your info. I will rediscuss this with her.
 

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The BO is not running a charity. She has bills to pay as well. Your horse is taking up space that someone that can pay the bill could be filling. You should feel lucky that she has given you two months.
 

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I'm with justsambam. I know that it is stated in my boarding contract with my barn that if I am lacking payment exceeding X amount of days, then she has every legal right to take my horse as payment.

I don't think my BO would ever do that cause we are on a really good working relationship. I am sure that if I explained my situation, she would understand. But let's face it, it is a business and she needs money to care for the other horses. What happens if you are late on electrical bills, they turn off your electricity. Owning horses is not a necessity, it is a luxury and it takes time and money to give them proper care.

Sorry about your situation, but you need to think about this and talk with your BO. Good Luck!
 

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I am a struggling horse owner. I love my boy very much, and right now I'm stuck on something and it's really making me stressed out/upset.

I got a call last week from the BO to "catch up" and she told me that when March comes around, if his bill is not paid (late by 2 months), she's going to take him as payment as she recalls I was thinking about selling him.

What right does she have in this? Yes, my bill is needing to be paid, but I'm not abandoning my horse. I see Murray as often as I can and make as much payments ($50-100 +) as I can on him at Sunny Brook.

Thanks for reading.
It's written up in our contracts that way. I've been at my barn for 10 years and have seen a few horses taken for non-payment and sold. It's your responsibility when you board to pay your bill or the BO can't pay theirs. It doesn't matter if you see your horse every day or not, if you're not paying they have to get the money somehow and you're just taking up space from someone who would be paying.

Now our BO will often work with folks when they are going through a rough patch. She'll have them clean stalls or come up with other arrangements. You might try that. Or see if you can borrow the money from family. But she has ever legal right to take your horse if you aren't paying.
 

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I agree with the others, horses don't survive on love and sympathy. The BO can't be expected to take care of your horse without compensation. Right now, taking care of the horse is your responsibility, if you can't afford the responsibility, then it may be in the horse's best interest for the BO to get ownership if she can meet the horse's needs. See if you can work out payments, I've offered to boarders to pay weekly instead of monthly if that is easier for them, as well as trade services if you have something to offer. If you don't have the money or time to offer, then she is well within her rights to take the horse.
 

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I will tell you this, however -

The BO would much rather have you pay your bill in full than end up owning your horse and then try to sell it to recover her money. So the suggestions to talk to her, and work out a reasonable plan to get caught up are excellent ones. In the US, the law that allows a BO to do this is called a "mechanic's lein" and it's enforcable whether it's spelled out in a contract or not. You might want to check out the law where you live.

And I'm sorry this thread hasn't been full of much sympathy or encouragement; but the final advice I'll give is that if you don't have a realistic plan for getting caught up, put the horse up for sale yourself. That's a hard thing to do, I know, but you'll be better off financially if you sell the horse yourself and pay off the BO. Just have a talk with the BO before you advertise the horse and let her know you'll pay her out of the proceeds.
 

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Maura has made some excellent points.
Unfortunately, this is not a new situation faced by boarders or BO's - especially in this economy (in fact, this is how we came to have our Aero). The BO would much rather have the past due fees paid than be in the position of trying to sell your horse and re-coup their costs that way.
 

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sorry, I'm from aus and have my own property so have never come across this. But i'm very curious.... why do they take the horse? why not something more to the value of the bill like a saddle or something?

like eg. your horse is worth $5K and th BO sells it for that? do they get all of the money or do you get whats left after the bill has been paid?

just seems strange to me
 

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sorry, I'm from aus and have my own property so have never come across this. But i'm very curious.... why do they take the horse? why not something more to the value of the bill like a saddle or something?

like eg. your horse is worth $5K and th BO sells it for that? do they get all of the money or do you get whats left after the bill has been paid?

just seems strange to me
Because, they have possession of the horse - and the horse is what is causing the bill to accumulate. Once they have taken possession of the horse, they are entitled to any and all proceeds of the sale.
 

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This sort of situation is exactly how I came to own my National Show Horse. His owner just stopped paying board and the BO went to court and took him as payment. I then bought him from them.

Eventually they can go to court and get possession of the horse. Like someone else said, you are taking up space from someone who would pay them to keep their horses.

I dont know your situation but if you cant afford the board, you probably couldnt afford a vet if it was needed, and that just isnt a good thing.

Have you considered leasing him out? Have them pay half the board or whatever?
 

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Because, they have possession of the horse - and the horse is what is causing the bill to accumulate. Once they have taken possession of the horse, they are entitled to any and all proceeds of the sale.
Meant to add - usually, especially in this market, the BO takes a loss rather than gaining any profit when the sale price is compared the bill that has accumulated.
 

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It's called an Agister's Lien, and every stable owner is allowed to take a horse for non-payment of board.

To answer the poster who asked why the BO can't take a saddle or other property, because that would be stealing. The saddle didn't take up room in the stall or eat hay, the horse did. So the lien goes on the horse, not anything else.

If an animal is seized for back board, the BO is within their rights to keep all funds from the sale. However, the sale legally has to be made public; the horse can't be sold privately to another party.

Whether or not they follow this rule is up to them, but if someone wanted to cause a stink because of it, the seller could get into legal trouble.
 

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To those that may be confused by the BO being able to keep the entire proceeds - the best explanation I can offer is that the person who owes the boarding fees is essentially trading the horse for the amount owed. From that point, the debt between BO and previous owner is forgiven -- it is then up to the BO to proceed with the sale of the horse to attempt to recoup the actual debt. If they are able to sell the horse for more, they gain the profit. The difference is not owed to the original owner because they are not part of the sale - they traded the horse to the BO to eliminate their debt.
 
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