Important Knowledge To Know Before Signing Horse Purchase/sale Contracts & Agreements


The buying and selling of horses should be handled in as much of a businesslike manner as any other transaction. “Horse trading” has been applied to every kind of transaction because of the many ways in which you can be misled in a sale. More than one sharp merchant who never came near a horse has been called a horse trader. Many a lifelong friendship has failed because of a verbal agreement. It may seem harsh to be particular with a friend, but all agreements should be thoroughly discussed and understood before any deal is undertaken. If possible, make a contract and put the agreement in writing with both parties signing. There will then be no doubt and no chance of saying, “I thought you meant…”

Even “friends,” or “friends of a friend,” have “just the right animal for sale.” There are many reasons for getting rid of a horse. “A man must sell a horse and just wants a good home for him and will accept a very reasonable figure. Naturally, the animal is worth more.” Beware of such bargains. Because when the horse does not turn out right the”friends of the friend” will suddenly become quite forgetful about the animal and won’t remember saying any­thing. Don’t ever commit yourself until you have a chance to examine the horse thoroughly. There are many ways of making a horse seem to step out sound. In some instances sellers have been known to shoot Novocain into a painful leg so that the horse can walk without a limp.

When you buy an animal, have the seller write a description of it and the markings. If buying a papered animal (registered), the markings are on a chart on the back of the pedigree. See that the contract states that the animal is sound and as advertised. A man bought a purebred show horse for his daughter for $3,500. They worked the animal for a week and noticed he constantly stumbled in the figure eight. A veterinarian was called and an X ray showed an old fracture down in the foot among the small bones. In this case the money was returned and the horse went back to the previous owner because the animal had been sold as sound. The seller knew about the injury, but the animal had not been used for months and did not limp in the walk. It was a case where the seller thought the affliction might not show up for some time, maybe too late to look like an old injury.

Another animal was accepted on a sale, but the final con­tract was not signed or did any money change hands. The following day the animal came down with a case of extreme colic and died a few hours later. In this case there was no transaction consummated so the seller was the loser.

A horse may be bought “on time.” However, anything happening to the animal after delivery does not change the contract and the horse must be paid for, as with any contract. The seller, on payment of a deposit, delivers the animal and there his responsibility ends. For example: a mare in foal was sold. The pregnancy was verified by the veterinarian before delivery of the mare to the new owner. The contract, signed by the purchaser, agreed to pay fifty dollars a month until paid in full. Two days after delivery the mare broke out of her corral and was struck by a car. There was no apparent injury, but when the time came for foaling there was no colt. The owner did not want to pay the balance. In this instance the seller was protected by a signed contract and by the veterinarian’s previous examination. The seller was not responsible for the animal’s care or condition after delivery.

Should the horse become mean after the sale he is still the responsibility of the purchaser. Perhaps a lack of knowledge or mishandling is the cause.

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