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Buying a horse this New Year?

View profile for Jacqueline Hardaway
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As often comes with the New Year and New Years resolutions, is a decision to start a hobby! A friend of mine who is a keen rider has decided to buy a horse, having loaned horses for years she is now taking the plunge and considering putting a significant amount of her savings into this purchase. Understandably she is very excited about taking her hobby to a new level, but also worried about buying the ‘wrong’ horse.

Horses are expensive, not only to buy but also to keep, therefore it is important to make sure you carry out plenty of research and undertake checks before parting with hard earned cash.

Steps to take before you buy a horse:

  • Do some research on the seller.
  • Make sure you view the horse, if possible take someone with you and go back and view the horse a couple of times.
  • Ask the seller to ride the horse so you can see how it behaves.
  • Ride the horse yourself to see if it behaves differently.
  • Ask questions! Find out as much as you can from the seller about the horse, especially how suitable it is for you.
  • Get the horse fully vetted and tell the vet what you intend to use the horse for.
  • Ask for a written agreement! Not all sellers want to provide one but it is important to have, in writing, the terms of your agreement.
  • Lastly…keep a copy of the advert, along with the agreement, this will put you in a better position, if anything goes wrong, once you have paid for the horse.

Buying from a dealer or an individual?

Although it may not matter at the time, if things go wrong later on, there is a vast difference in what you can do about it dependent on who you bought your horse from.

  • A horse dealer will be selling a horse in the course of business; they are therefore bound by certain provisions set out in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 which gives the buyer protection in the event of a dispute. You are entitled to buy a horse of a ‘satisfactory quality’ and which is ‘fit for purpose’.  If these terms are breached then you may be entitled to return the horse and request a refund.
  • An individual selling a horse will not be subject to the same provisions above, in this case it is very much ‘buyer beware’ and you will have limited legal rights if things go wrong. You may have a claim if you relied on a representation made by the seller which turns out not to be true, and this is why a written agreement is useful in confirming what was agreed between you.

My advice is:  Protect your investment from the start by following the above tips!

If you have any questions or queries regarding Equine Law, please call Dawson Hart solicitors on 01825 762281 and ask to speak to the Litigation department.