Do I need a contract/ sales agreement when selling/ buying a horse?
As with most animal sales at the moment, horse sales are booming. This might seem quite strange objectively, however perhaps it is simply down to people having more time (and expecting/ hoping this to continue) and hoping to fill a void previously filled with everything and anything we could spend our time doing pre-lockdown.
The difficulty with the increase in horse sales is that there appears to be an increase in instances of horses being mis-sold and of sellers being targeted by buyers for mis-sale. There are additional difficulties with buying and selling horses that are not present in other areas (it’s much easier to return a faulty toaster than a horse!). I have previously explored these in my “Buying and Selling horses: what you need to know” blog.
How can I prevent issues further down the line and protect myself?
The main advice to protect yourself (both the buyer and the seller) is to make sure that you get everything put in writing. This may seem too simple, or you may think that it will never happen to you, however unfortunately the majority of disputes are difficult to pursue without written agreements and, indeed, would not happen in the first place had there been a written agreement in place. From a financial perspective it is arguably a good investment to ensure everything is covered off in a legal document and prevent further issues down the line.
The main issues from horse sales often arise by way of a horse’s characteristic which is described, such as, for example, claiming that the horse is safe in traffic. If a clause is integrated into the contract which lists the characteristics of the horse, then neither party can later claim an alternative story. Everything agreed between the parties should be written into the contract.
Agreements should therefore protect both buyers and sellers:
- From a buyer’s perspective, you should know exactly what you are purchasing, whether the horse has any confirmed characteristics or information as to how the horse is happiest. If any of the representations are later found to be untrue you can rely on the contract.
- From a seller’s perspective, an agreement affords you more protection from buyers approaching you 3 months down the line claiming to have been mis-sold a horse when the horse has actually developed over time since sale.
Of course such agreements can never be completely watertight however they can prevent misunderstandings from arising and prevent any unnecessary action from being taken later down the line.
Need advice on equine law or need help drafting an agreement?
If you have any equine related issues, whether related to the mis-sale of a horse or not, please get in touch with our specialist Equine Law department by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01202 057732.
Our Equine Law team can assist with drafting a contract for the sale of a horse and can also offer advice on a variety of other agreements. Please get in touch for more information.
Our Equine Law team specialise in a number of varying equine disputes including: