Whether you are looking to buy your first horse or you are a seasoned owner and want to grow your equine family with yet another member, there are some legal aspects you need to consider. Otherwise, you may end up with a horse that doesn’t fit your lifestyle and expectations.

This can discourage new owners and can bring mayhem in a well-established team.

Even though it can seem weird to compare the two, horse buying is a lot like buying a used car. Both purchases require research and you should enlist the help of someone who understands the market and can provide helpful advice. Moreover, if you’re not particularly experienced with horses, it can be difficult to understand when the seller is trying to hide important details.

As such, below we listed several steps that will help you avoid buying the wrong horse or getting involved in a legal nightmare (which can happen with such purchases).

Work with an Instructor

Unless you have a close friend who is experienced in raising and training horses, you should consider hiring an instructor. They will most likely require a fee or a commission (around 10 to 20% of the purchase price), but it is a good investment since they can try out horses for you and can provide invaluable tips and advice.

Of course, you will need to draft a collaboration contract where it will be clearly specified the value of the fee or commission and the type of services they will provide.

Ask for a Vet Check

Just like you wouldn’t buy a used car without having a trusted mechanic check it out, you shouldn’t buy a horse without asking a vet you know to look at it.

As such, once the instructor identified a suitable horse, ask the seller to allow a veterinarian of your choice (ideally one that has no history with the seller) to inspect the animal. Also, make sure that both you and the instructor are present when the check is taking place. During the examination, the veterinarian will check the horse’s general state of health, but they should also draw blood and have it tested for various substances (such as pain killers and sedatives).

Do a Test Ride

The seller must offer you and the instructor the possibility to ride the horse. However, it’s best to ask the seller to do a demonstration first, so you can observe how the animal behaves. During this ride, it’s a good idea to use your phone to videotape it – this way, you can compare between horses at a later time and make an informed decision.

Still, before you take pictures or videos, make sure to ask for the owner’s permission as this can constitute a legal issue.

The Horse Bill of Sale

In the US, the seller must draft and provide the buyer with a bill of sale which will serve as proof of purchase. This document is required when an item of value is being purchased such as a vehicle or a branded animal (in this case, a horse).

Among others, the document needs to contain information about the seller and buyer, the date of purchase, the amount paid, and a description of the item being purchased (the horse). It should also state any warranties the seller has made about the horse and the actions to take should the horse’s condition and behavior change unexpectedly.

This document is increasingly important if you make the payment in cash since it will be the only record of the transaction.

Wrap Up

Horses are gorgeous creatures that deserve plenty of love and attention. Sadly, not every seller is pure of heart, which is why there have been many cases of hidden flaws such as health problems or behavior issues.

As a buyer, it’s easy to make an impulse decision, which can later turn against you. This is why it’s crucial to ask for assistance from an instructor and always use all the available legal forms to protect your purchase.

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