Owner will not accept loan horse back

tegwin12

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23 November 2012
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Hi there, I am desperately seeking some advice. I have a horse on loan - the period of loan was loosely agreed on Facebook as 12 months we have no written contract as such. I have had the horse for 4 months and wish to return it - she has developed a condition called pastern vasculitis and I have paid £400 in vets bills over the last 2 weeks having this condition treated, I have informed the owner of the horse and explained that I will and have already paid for the treatment on this occasion but as this is a condition that may arise again and again I cannot continue to care for the horse, I simply do not have the money. I can not ride the horse whilst suffering with this condition and she can't go out in daylight hours as the condition is photo aggravated. The owner is saying we have a contract on our conversation on Facebook and she's not in a position to have her back - the fact is that I'm stuck with a horse I can no longer afford and the animal is hers!!! I need to know where I stand legally I'm guessing a solicitors letter is te best plan but I want to know where we stand legally in terms of handing the horse over to an equine welfare organisation as her welfare is my main concern and I worry if this condition worsens I simply will not be able to treat her. Please help!
 

Polos Mum

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I don't think a welfare organisation would accept her as she has an owner who should be taking responsibility for her. Can you suggest to the owner that she is sold? or PTS if she can't be sold because of the illness?
A formal letter telling the owner you'll be returning the horse to her address on after say 30 days notice from date of letter - and then just take her back.
 

tegwin12

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I don't think a welfare organisation would accept her as she has an owner who should be taking responsibility for her. Can you suggest to the owner that she is sold? or PTS if she can't be sold because of the illness?
A formal letter telling the owner you'll be returning the horse to her address on after say 30 days notice from date of letter - and then just take her back.
I attempted to insure her but her vaccinations were not up to date and this was a stipulation from the insurance company I asked the owner to send me the passport so this could be done but the message was ignored. I already have another horse of my own so am fully aware of the costs and feel I am being more than fair treating the horse already. I am sending a letter through a solicitor but simply do not have the money to pay for any further treatment and her welfare is my concern :(
 

tegwin12

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Plus the only address I have is for a house not yard how can I leave her at a terraced cottage - I have been so frustrated I've considered it but what if the horse was to injure itself or a member of the public
 

vieshot

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It's her horse. Tell her she is having it back. Tell her you will be dropping it off from wherever you picked it up from in x amount of days. A Facebook chat is not a contract. Daft moose.
 

justabob

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Although I have sympathy for your predicament, these loans should never be "loosely" agreed on FB, or anywhere else without written agreements. The passport should always be with the horse. I feel you have entered into this arrangement very lightly and are now sadly left with the horse that you no longer want.
 

Polos Mum

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~If she ignores the letter, you could tell her you are posting an abandonment notice (redwings have a really useful section on their web site for dealing with abandoned horses which includes a copy of the legal notice) once you've obtained legal ownership you can sell her and keep cash to cover your costs of selling.
If that doesn't produce some sort of action from the owner - probably nothing will!!
 

tegwin12

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The owner is a friend of a friend and I agree a contract should have been drawn up - I signed a two week trial 'contract' that she'd scribbled on the back of an envelope she said if I kept the horse on loan she would get a contract drawn up but tht never happened! I am more than happy to go to court if she thinks I am responsible for the horses livery which she seems to believe I am for the next 8 months and a judge can decide however I need her to take the horse back !!! :(
 

Sugar_and_Spice

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Just give the horses owner a months notice that you will be terminating the loan, by recorded delivery letter. Tell the yard owner the same. Ask for an address to return the horse to. If no address given and the horse is not collected after that date, the horses care and livery fees will become the responsibility of the owner. Let her take you to court if she disagrees. I really wouldn't worry about this situation, its her horse and she doesn't like the sound of vet bills and is trying it on. Let her PTS the horse if she doesn't want it/can't afford it.
 

tegwin12

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So would it then be the yard owners job to go after her for the livery? If she doesn't collect the horse? And I presume he can serve her an abandonment notice?
 

canteron

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My experience says avoid court at all costs - it will probably take more than 8 months to sort it out (court proceedings are never quick). It would also be a very subjective assessment by the judge as clearly both your understandings of the 'contract' between you is very different and the chances are you will end up looking after the horse for over a year while it is sorted out and may well loose the case and have to pay her costs in the bargain.

So, you have made a mistake, you are now going to have to find a grown up solution and accept a lot of life isn't perfect. You could leave the horse at her cottage, but thats fairly hard hearted. Face up to it, she doesn't want the horse or any associated costs and is going to play ostrich (head in the sand type approach. It sounds to me as if you need to talk to her and say that you will try and find a new (free?) home, but if not the horse will have to be PTS? Go to her will a plan and talk. People are rarely so callous when you talk face to face and you have to try.

Horrible situation though.
 

tegwin12

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She wants the horse she just has no job and can't afford it right now - I can't find another home as she's sick and a walking vets bill. I have tried to come to an agreement and asked what she feels a suitable amount of notice is and she's said tht I agreed to 12 months and that's that. The court thing would be to decide if I am liable for the cost of keeping the animal for terminating the contract early the solicitors letter is to inform her that from x date I will no longer be caring for the animal so she as the owner holds the duty of care. I guess I will just have to see how that goes and go from there
 

bonny

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I can't but help that morally at least the horse is your responsibility and if she has no job what's the point of trying to force her to take the horse back or cover your costs ? I agree with the poster above, talk to her and try and come to an arrangement you are both happy with and if at the end of the day neither or you want the horse then rehome her to someone who does.
 

Angelbones

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I'd tell her that if she thinks the agreement on fb constitutes a proper contract then she has to acknowledge that most loan contracts would, amongst other things, contain a 30 day notice period on both sides. Also that if she had drawn up the contract as she was meant to then that contract would had to have a 30 day notice period in it or you would not have signed it. The 30 days works both ways - to protect both sides - if the shoe had been on the other foot and she had wanted the horse back she sure as hell would have been saying 30 days to you right now!

Are you able to keep the horse where it is, on a cheaper livery option? One that she could afford?

As normal on these types of thread, I think someone will say to contact the BHS legal line or similar for some advice. I've just been through a similar situation myself although we did have a contract with a 30 notice period, but I still got stuck with ongoing insurance premiums and big vet bills. The horse did eventually go back, after I'd spent loads on it and despite it all being in the contract I still think I did more than I should have done but can't see how it could have been avoided really.
 

Sugar_and_Spice

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So would it then be the yard owners job to go after her for the livery? If she doesn't collect the horse? And I presume he can serve her an abandonment notice?
If you was the yard owner, who would you chase for unpaid livery - the person who told you a month ago that they'd no longer be loaning the horse from 'x' date or the horses owner? :wink3: It's the horses owner who has the asset, ie the horse, which could be sold to pay the livery bill.

If the yard owner gives you notice to leave the yard by your end date, agree, then inform the horses owner that she needs to find somewhere else. If she chooses not to then that's her look out. I don't see that you can issue an abandonment notice because the horse hasn't been abandoned on your land. The land belongs to the yard owner.

ETA I have no patience with horse owners who won't accept responsibility for their horses. If she didn't want that responsibility she could have sold the horse upon finding she'd lost her job. I've known people phone a dealer and the horse is viewed and collected a few days later. Since you're giving her back a sound and currently healthy horse she still has this option.

Sorry you all type so fast lol. I just read the horse is sick, so tell her its hers as from tomorrow (to save yourself the vet bills for a horse that isn't yours and has a long term condition). As goodwill gesture I would offer to pay for PTS if she doesn't want horse back. you can't leave horse to suffer and livery/vet bills for another month would likely cost the same anyway.
 
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tegwin12

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As I have said above I have tried all that though she is not willing to discuss and come to any type of agreement, it is not down to me to rehome someone else's horse surely she would be to approve an be happy with the home. Her intentions are probably for me to foot the bill for everything nurse the animal back to health and then she can sell the horse when she is in a fit state, this is hard for me I have bonded with the horse and I love her but I simply do not have the pounds in the bank to keep paying for these vet bills had I known the horse had this problem with her immune system I would never have agreed to take her on.......
 

cptrayes

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I suggest that you send her a recorded delivery letter saying that unless she tells you where to deliver the horse in30 days, that you will take her to auction, sell her, recoup the cost of livery over 30 days plus selling costs including transport and forward the balance, if any, to her.

I don't understand at all why anyone expects you to pay out huge vets fees on someone else's horse.
 

tegwin12

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The horse is costing £250 livery a month and this month alone £400 in vets bills - there is nothing saying this condition will ever go away - worst case scenario I have 8 months livery to pay and then hundreds and hundreds of pounds of vets bills then at the end of the 12 month period I fear I may still find myself in this predicament so I'd rather get this sorted now if I have to incur legal costs there's not a lot I can do - I own my own horse and should I have put him out on loan I would never treat anyone like this - if somebody told me they didn't want him or couldn't look after him anymore I'd make sure he was back with me immediately no questions asked
 

tegwin12

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Yeah I tried but she wasn't vaccinated So they wouldn't cover her I asked the owner to send her passport but she ignored my message,
 

tegwin12

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Yes I think a formal letter stating all the options is going to be the way forward I am going to speak to my solicitor tomorrow thanks xx
 

ihatework

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It never ceases to amaze me how some people handles loans. Both loaners & owners. This is a living creature for christsakes - why on earth would you take on a horse if you couldn't afford vets bills or didn't insure it.
 
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