Can anyone advise me please I have been taken to court

Birker2020

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You need some proper legal advice if you are a gold BHS member you get free legal assistance .. otherwise it may cost you more for the advice than half the vets bill. Sounds wrong to me but I’m no legal expert
If you buy privately you have much more less options than if you purchase via a dealer.
You have to prove that the owner of the horse lied to you. How you go about that when it is clearly your word against hers is not known.

Or if you had a vetting you can go down the route that the vet should have know that there was an issue but they can come up with a million and one excuses why something wasn't evident on the day or that they did the checks necessary but nothing showed up on the day.

when I spoke to BHS legal they said that if I wanted to sell said animal I would not have to declare a thing to the potential purchaser and it would be up to them to ask any questions. So asking a general question like 'have you had the vet out to this horse in your ownership' may not cover it.

It was basically 'does this horse have an issue with his hooves?'. Does it have an issue with its pastern? Does it have an issue with its fetlocks? Does it have an issue with its cannon bones. Does it have an issue with its knees and so on and so forth until you have covered every bone in its body. Then you can move on to skin. Then behaviour. In about two days you may have covered everything. And then its still your word against theirs.

This was also confirmed to me by an equine solicitor.

Apparently due diligence is a lot more complicated. Asking on dodgy dealer websites/word of mouth/getting a five stage vetting/asking the right questions/taking someone with you IS STILL NOT ENOUGH :(
 
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PurBee

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This has been bugging me all night. I hate giving bad advice 😕

I don't see any way that a judge can have used the words "fit for purpose" in that court hearing unless the judge is a fool or the buyer has managed to convince the judge that this was a business sale.

Is there more to this than you are telling us Jo? Have you ever sold any other horses? Do you run a horse related business?
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I agree, the judge seems to obviously be under the impression that this was a business sale, to impose all this onto a private seller.

The buyer had the option to vet, which they refused. They had a months trial on owners property, (due to lack of funds to buy the pony), free to ride and visit the pony anytime, to do further checks before deciding to purchase. The pony was fine evidently for them to decide to buy.

Now the pony has since with new owner been to 2 homes in 2 months, broken through fences, made itself lame probably via its fence wrecking escapades, and the buyer now realises vet fees and responsibility of a pony is more than cuddles and fun rides, likely cant afford the sudden vet investigations if funds werent even liquid enough to buy the pony when they were looking….in deep water with a poorly pony, feeling overwhelmed and wants the seller to take it back. Going about it the wrong way by taking seller to court!

If buyer gets their own way in this, seller ends up with a lame pony, made lame by someone else…and now cannot sell-on a lame pony and would have to rehab and treat before re-sale. Unbelievable this could happen to a private seller.

If a horse is bought and moved to a new yard, treated however by new owner, horse not allowed to settle in at its own pace - gets stressed, gets ulcers…..the old seller then should take that horse back and treat for ulcers caused by someone elses mistreatment/inappropriate management of said horse? This judge is saying ‘yes’. The judge has to be hugely mis-informed about this case.

Thats like taking a car youve crashed back to the garage and asking for a refund, hoping the seller will happily pay for your misdeeds. Whereas this is a live animal - 1 day can be fine, and another lame, despite vetting etc. Thats the risk us buyers take with animals, when buying from a private seller.

OP - as mentioned, enquire if your house (contents?)insurance policy covers you for legal fees associated with your ‘belongings’ (can our pets be included in that as our ‘belongings’?) Or do you have ‘farm insurance’ - that more likely covers livestock. Or if you qualify for legal aid. You DO need a solicitor at this stage, as a judgement has been made, and it sounds as if your defence has not been put forward adequately.

But what a massive headache for you. Just terrible.

Have you assessed the pony since injury yourself? It sounds, if the vet suspects laxity, that tendon/ligament injury has occurred. Depending on severity depends on rehab and future work/ridden potential for the pony.

It’s up to you to decide whether you battle the legal process and (should) win - but the cost of that financially for you depends on your ability to secure legal representation free via insurance policies you hold or via legal aid. You weigh up the cost of the pony sale verses the time/emotional hassle and potential cost of court.

If the pony’s happiness is paramount to you, id even consider refunding, getting the pony back and rehabbing if it is a rehab case. If its a severe injury, the ability to resell for riding is unknown. Basically, im saying, if you can afford to lose the money, have the pony, re-hab and even sell on as a companion for someone, would you?

It’s not legally fair for you to take the pony back, i know, but your finances are your business and if you can afford the loss, and the pony being in a good home , even as a companion is more important than winning this case in court with a good solicitor who should win this for you (if it really is a private sale - sounds like it from all youve stated) - then id take the pony back and be done with it, rather than win the case, and the pony be in the hands of a person who would stoop so low as to drag you through court and make you responsible for their wrong-doings.

Some of us horse folk are soft hearted and will take a loss for the ultimate happiness of horses, others still love horses, were all in it for the love of the horse!….but business is business and where theres a legal wrong, it is to be fought in court. Neither decision is wrong. Its down to the person, and their circumstances.

Have a chat with a good equine solicitor and they’ll help give you a realistic idea of your chances in court. Then you can weigh it all up.
 

ycbm

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#41 OP states it is only horse she has sold in the last two years.
No, she didn't. She said yes it is a private sale. She doesn't answer when asked if she has sold any others, which is why I asked it twice. It now seems she owns a farm (the trial was at "my farm")and it seems likely this has been deemed a business sale in the context of that. The judge's behaviour makes no sense in any other context. "Fit for purpose" is irrelevant in a private sale.
 
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ycbm

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Thank you so much it’s the pony I feel for I really did think I found him the most perfect Home
If you really feel for the pony the answer is to buy him back, get him right and find him a better home.

When you contact the vets be sure you are clear that you will want them to produce a written report to be presented in court and that you don't actually own the pony that is under dispute that they are supposed to examine and that two parties will be responsible for the bill. I will be quite surprised if you can get one to quote, never mind three.
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paddy555

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When you contact the vets be sure you are clear that you will want them to produce a written report to be presented in court and that you don't actually own the pony that is under dispute that they are supposed to examine and that two parties will be responsible for the bill. I will be quite surprised if you can get one to quote, never mind three.
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I expect they will want a substantial payment up front from each party as the vet's practice won't know either party.
 

Lucky101

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No, she didn't. She said yes it is a private sale. She doesn't answer when asked if she has sold any others, which is why I asked it twice. It now seems she owns a farm (the trial was at "my farm")and it seems likely this has been deemed a business sale in the context of that. The judge's behaviour makes no sense in any other context. "Fit for purpose" is irrelevant in a private sale.
Your accusing the op of being a dealer without any proof . That’s very odd behavior coming from someone who apparently doesn’t these people. Something doesn’t add up with this type of post I bet you know the buyers because you certainly wouldn’t just randomly go defending a buyer.
 

Bob notacob

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No, she didn't. She said yes it is a private sale. She doesn't answer when asked if she has sold any others, which is why I asked it twice. It now seems she owns a farm (the trial was at "my farm")and it seems likely this has been deemed a business sale in the context of that. The judge's behaviour makes no sense in any other context. "Fit for purpose" is irrelevant in a private sale.
Unfortunately that is not entirely true. For any contract ,private or business, there must be mutual consideration. Both party's must receive something of value to them . (lord Scarman,s decision on Hong Kong fir shipping v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha 1962) . I would argue that the buyer bought a young immature horse with the prospect of maturing either into a beautiful swan or an ugly duck . The buyer chose not to get professional advice as to the likelihood of swan versus Duck. Their choice. Duty of care , you did advise them to do this. Did the buyer get something of value. Yes ,because they bought the potential for a good horse cheap as a youngster. They did not buy a proven mature riding horse. Incidentally ,horses are not recognised as agriculture ,and therefore not part of a farming business.
Bottom line however ,is how much will it cost you for this problem to go away ,and is it worth the stress and pain it might cause you. I can only give you bad advice on this point ,as my natural inclination is to go to court and rip peoples throats out. My Bad (though over the years it seems I have been remarkably good at it)
 

Bob notacob

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Your accusing the op of being a dealer without any proof . That’s very odd behavior coming from someone who apparently doesn’t these people. Something doesn’t add up with this type of post I bet you know the buyers because you certainly wouldn’t just randomly go defending a buyer.
???? These are exactly the questions I would also be asking, because sell more than 3 cars (or horses )a year and you are a dealer. It is vitally important to determine the status of the seller ,because it determines whether sale of goods act or consumer protection applies . Without this ,all advice is meaningless.
 

Pebble101

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???? These are exactly the questions I would also be asking, because sell more than 3 cars (or horses )a year and you are a dealer. It is vitally important to determine the status of the seller ,because it determines whether sale of goods act or consumer protection applies . Without this ,all advice is meaningless.

I was involved in a case and the specialist equine solicitor told me that it doesn't matter how many horses the vendor sold, it was buying with the intention of selling that made her a dealer even if it was just one. In OP's case it doesn't appear she bought the horse with the intention of selling it on so I would have thought this was a private sale (although I am only going on what has been disclosed here).
 
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ycbm

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I was involved in a case and the specialist equine solicitor told me that it doesn't matter how many horses the vendor sold, it was buying with the intention of selling that made her a dealer even if it was just one. In OP's case it doesn't appear she bought the horse with the intention of selling it on so I would have thought this was a private sale.
I'm not sure that works both ways, though. If it's one horse, buying with the intention of selling at a profit makes you a dealer, but it's very, very difficult to prove that. Buying a horse for personal use in spring and selling it in autumn doesn't, I think, make you a dealer, and some people do that.

But if a person has sold 3 in a year and either kept them a short time or, as in this case, bought a young horse which would increase in value as it aged, then conversely it's going to be very, very difficult for them to insist that they did not buy with the intention of selling and they are likely to be found to be a dealer in court, I would have thought.
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ycbm

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Your accusing the op of being a dealer without any proof . That’s very odd behavior coming from someone who apparently doesn’t these people. Something doesn’t add up with this type of post I bet you know the buyers because you certainly wouldn’t just randomly go defending a buyer.
I'm not accusing her of anything, I'm asking for more information. I do not know the buyers, I know exactly as much about this as you do, unless you know the seller?

I'm not defending the buyer, if anything I'm defending the law. Which do you think is more likely, the judge is an idiot who doesn't know the law, or the seller has been deemed by the court to be a dealer, even if she isn't?

Whatever, she has disappeared and seems to have no intention of telling us how many horses she has sold from her farm.

I hope that's because she's found herself a lawyer because if she's been deemed a dealer when she isn't one then she needs a lawyer. Though it would probably be cheaper just to buy the pony she says she still cares about back.
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Pebble101

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I'm not sure that works both ways, though. If it's one horse, buying with the intention of selling at a profit makes you a dealer, but it's very, very difficult to prove that. Buying a horse for personal use in spring and selling it in autumn doesn't, I think, make you a dealer, and some people do that.

But if a person has sold 3 in a year and either kept them a short time or, as in this case, bought a young horse which would increase in value as it aged, then conversely it's going to be very, very difficult for them to insist that they did not buy with the intention of selling and they are likely to be found to be a dealer in court, I would have thought.
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Agree that it's really difficult to prove. In my case it was the first horse she had purchased to bring on and sell.
 

ycbm

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Agree that it's really difficult to prove. In my case it was the first horse she had purchased to bring on and sell.

Anyone who posts on social media that they've bought a "project horse" needs to realise that they have immediately defined themselves as a dealer. For the record, I hope very much that Joe will stay with me!
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CanteringCarrot

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OP, please speak to a proper equine solicitor. While some of this advice may come from a food place on this thread, much of it is uninformed, incorrect, and/or doesn't apply to you on particular. Your head is probably spinning enough, never mind all of the "noise" in this thread. So sorry you're in this situation, I wish the best for you and the pony.
 

neddy man

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OP had owned the pony she sold for 2 years (2yrs to 4yrs old) so yes it was a project, but not a quick get it jumping / hunting/showing sell it on for ?k profit like a dealer would, and she sold it due to her health and the pony needing a job to do that she was unable to fulfill. I don't think that will class her as a dealer, but the question of how many others she has sold, (that she has not replied to yet) can change opinions.
 
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