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United States Equestrian Federation


I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to me yesterday regarding my deceased mare Picante.
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and I would certainly feel confident if you were handling Picante’s case.
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Axens North America

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Title of Article: "Watch Your Ps and Qs when purchasing a horse:
This goes for both the Purchaser and the Purchaser's Agent"

Author: Lisa M. Spano, Esq.

“What is in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." - Romeo and Juliet. In the equine industry, your “name” is quite often your calling card for future business and success. Although over the years, I have certainly become too familiar with the antics of greedy horseman that apparently do not care about maintaining a good name. Rather, their modus operandi is that “money”, by any other name, would smell as sweet!

Purchasing a new horse can be both exciting and exhausting. Often times a purchaser, i.e. client, relies on the expertise of their agent, i.e., the trainer. The trainer owes the client a fiduciary responsibility to be honest, forthright and have the client’s best interest at heart. However, this is not a perfect world and in some situations, honesty and integrity are thrown out the window. When that trust is violated and the client is harmed financially, that client seeks the advice of counsel and may pursue the legal remedies available to them.

Although I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, I would rather that be done on a social basis and not via the avenue of my professional services. As such, set forth below are a few helpful tips for those seeking to purchase a horse:

1. Prior to divulging the budget you have to purchase a horse, do some research to find out what you should expect to pay for that type and/or level of show horse you desire.

2. You should secure an independent third party veterinarian to conduct the pre-purchase examination. You should not have the seller’s veterinarian, nor a friend/client of your agent, or seller, conduct the pre-purchase examination.

3. All monies for the purchase of the horse should be sent directly to the seller and not through your agent. Be sure that your Bill of Sale sets forth the purchase price and the commissions, if commissions are being paid. The most common phone call I receive is that a trainer made an undisclosed windfall in commissions or kickbacks.

4. Be sure to have the signed bill of sale, papers, coggins and other necessary paperwork for the horse, prior to sending the purchase monies. You can of course exchange all this information at the same time.

5. If the horse is registered with USEF or another organization, look up the horse’s show record and recording information prior to purchase. Verify age and the horse’s show record. Also, look to make sure the horse is in good standing with USEF.

The aforesaid are only a few factors to consider when in the process of purchasing a horse. Take a proactive approach inyour quest for that special horse and protect yourself from becoming victim to the sweet smell of greed.



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