Article Published in Horse Breeder Magazine, Summer 1990

"Meeting of the Minds" by R. Lar Thomas

"So you want to buy a horse? What kind of a horse are you looking for? Oh, just a regular sort of horse, huh? I got just what you're looking for." Some transactions are no more complicated than this. When you buy or sell horses it's a good idea to know what you can and can't do if you are not satisfied.


Before you get into the horse buying and selling arena there are a few things you may want to know. Whether you are buying or selling it may be to your advantage to explore what rights you may have should a sale go sour or you buy a sour horse. Within a little light reading (yes, this column) you should have a better idea of what your rights and remedies are should a horse deal go bad.


Selection

This topic refers not only to what type of horse you want to choose but, also to natural selection, or what nature does to horses. In selecting a horse to buy or sell many things must be considered before entering into a sales contract.


If you are on the selling end of the deal you want to make accurate representations. There is no such thing as a "2/3 Quarter Horse." Nor have I ever seen a broodmare that will "throw twins." The generic "fits all" horse is also often advertised. This is the one that anyone can ride. But remember, if you can carry it, chances are it can't carry you. If you see ads like these in the paper don't bother calling. On the other hand, everyone is looking for the good natured, gentle, pushbutton, champion for $50.00. Folks, you general get what you pay for. It's one of those funny little rules that isn't in any of the law books but everyone seems to know about.


Buyer

OK, now that you have decided what you want to buy let's talk about how to buy it. Cash is always good. At least that's what they tell me every time I try to buy a horse. There is also the installment method that I will address shortly. The important thing here is to know what you are buying, and that the Seller's representations are accurate and in writing. In other words, make sure the Seller will write down what he warrants.


Examples are such things that pertain to what the horse will be used for. When buying a broodmare make sure that there is a clause the states something similar to "The Seller hereby warrants that Onadare Broodmare is physically sound and fit for breeding purposes and is able to conceive." If it is a stud, get the "and is viable" language inserted.


You can also buy an "as is" horse. Of course you are moving down to the $50.00 range now. Generally speaking, the price goes up with each warranty that is requested. If you do pay for these warranties and it turns our that your mare is barren or your stud had been gelded two years ago, you do have certain remedies available. These may include, but are certainly not limited to, getting some of your purchase price refunded or rescinding the sale.


Seller

As a seller you should be concerned with protecting your rights regarding the sale of a horse. If it is a cash sale, you need only to ensure that you are honest in your representations and that you are conveying good and legal title to the horse you are selling. Problems can arise at any stage of the game. For instance, selling high-priced horses can sometimes only be done on a payment plan of some sort. Certain considerations must be made when dealing in this area.


Sellers who enter into installment transactions should take steps to ensure they maintain a superior interest in the horse until it is paid off. This is done by filling out a financial statement and filing it in the proper location. This document is commonly referred to as a UCC-1. It should have the Buyer's and Seller's names and addresses as well as a detailed description of the horse. Both Buyer and Seller need to sign the UCC-1 and it should be filed by the Seller in the county in which the horse will be kept.


This will give notice to the world that you have "perfected" your security interest in the horse and therefore, have a superior claim to others who may assert an interest.


At one time it was thought that holding onto a horse's registration papers was enough to assert a superior interest in a horse. This is not the case. Registration papers show only who the registered owner is as far as the breed association is concerned, and does not necessarily mean that the person listed is the actual owner. Ownership is transferred only after the last installment payment has been made. At this time the Seller needs to release his lien or interest in the horse. This is done by filing (as if you couldn't guess) a UCC-2 in the same place that the UCC-1 was filed.


Another item of interest concerning installment contracts (at least to me) is the dispute resolution clause. Here you should provide some sort of guidance as to who will resolve disputes. Will you go to court or arbitration? What state's law will govern, and who will pay attorney fees and court costs? Deciding these things before problems occur will save time and money in the end.


Closing

When entering into a contract for the sale of a horse there should be a clause that instructs the Buyer and Seller as to when, where, and how the closing will take place. It should be very clear and concise and point out the exact moment that ownership will transfer. keeping contract terms simple on both sides will make for a smoother sale and fewer hard feelings by facilitating the elusive "meeting of the minds."