Equine Law: Sales Agreements for Special Cases

Each horse is as unique as the person buying or selling him — so what do you do with a sales contract for horses with special considerations? Equine attorney Kjirsten Lee explains.

Flickr/Office of Public Affairs/CC

Flickr/Office of Public Affairs/CC

I recently worked on a sales contract for a client who was selling a horse with some special considerations. The horse had been known to be aggressive in the pasture towards other horses and towards people. It also required corrective shoeing and needs to be sedated for the farrier. These behavioral issues made the horse considerably less expensive than it would have been based on training and performance, but also made it even more important to find the right fit. These issues also made it essential to have a well-drafted sales agreement ensuring the prospective buyers were aware of and accepted the special considerations and potential risks associated with this horse.

Warranties. I always include an “as-is” clause in sales contracts I draft for clients. In this case, I made sure to include a special clause discussing the horse’s aggressive tendencies to be sure the potential buyers were aware. One way to be sure a potential buyer is aware and accepts any additional risk is to have line for the buyer’s initials next to an acknowledgement clause such as this:

______ Buyer has been made aware of Horse’s aggressive tendencies, including specific examples. Buyer accepts that these aggressive tendencies may increase the inherent risk involved in handling Horse. Buyer releases Seller and Seller’s agents from any liability for any damages that may result in the future from Horse’s disclosed aggressive tendencies.

By having a line for initials, the seller indicates that this clause is particularly important. The seller also can use this as stronger evidence to indicate that the buyer was made aware of and accepted any additional risk.

Special Considerations. This can be a useful clause when selling a horse with a known health concern. In my case, I used this clause to indicate the need for corrective shoeing. I also used this clause to indicate that the horse must be sedated for farrier work.

Assisting this client emphasized the need to have individualized contracts for each horse sale. While an internet contract may provide a template and guide, a knowledgeable equine attorney can help you draft a document specific to your situation. This is particularly important in cases such as mine, where a horse requires particular handling.

For more of Kjirsten’s articles on equine law, click the #EQUINE LAW hashtag at the top of this page, or click here to open a list.

Kjirsten Lee, J.D., is an equine attorney with rb LEGAL, LLC, in Golden Valley, MN. She has written on topics such as the Horse Protection Act and use of drugs in racehorses, as well as general legal issues that horse people may encounter. You can follow her on Twitter at @KMLee_Esq. Kjirsten and her OTTB, Gobain, compete in dressage and eventing.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created by reading and/or commenting on this post. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

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