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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.
Your credentials are very impressive
and I would certainly feel confident if you were handling Picante’s case.
D. Largeteau,
Axens North America

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Title: "What Documents Are Necessary For Proof Of Equine Ownership?"
Author: Valeri Buman, NAES

You have just purchased a new horse. A check was written, you and the seller shook hands, you briefly spoke about the existence of registration papers and your new horse was loaded into your trailer all ready for you to take home.

WRONG! A transaction like this isn’t safe for either party.

First of all the new owner has no proof of ownership. Second, without proof of sale or a transfer of ownership on the horse’s registration papers, the previous owner leaves themselves legally vulnerable if that horse injures anyone or damages anyone’s property.

The sale of a horse that safely benefits all parties includes a couple more steps than just a hand shake.

Get it in writing! A Bill of Sale is the only document that all legal arenas will acknowledge as proof of ownership. A Bill of Sale does not have to be a lengthy document and can be drafted in one sitting. Just make sure it contains these four elements:

- Parties involved: state the seller’s and buyer’s full names, addresses and phone numbers.

- Horse: state the horse’s name and any nick names, a full description of the horse and any registration numbers.

- Price: state the full sales price. Include if the price was paid in full and if not describe the payment plan. If state law requires sales tax include in the document which party is paying the sales tax.

- Warranties: these are any promises or agreements from seller to buyer concerning any specific qualities or conditions of the horse or the sale.

NAES   Unfortunately registration papers and Federation Equestre Internationale passports (FEI passport) are not considered proof of ownership. But as mentioned above, it is in the seller’s best interest to make sure the owner’s name gets transferred on the horse’s registration papers.

This is also a detail that can be included in the Bill of Sale; stating that the seller will be responsible for transferring ownership on any registration papers and a deadline for when this will be done.

When buying a horse you should request seeing any current registration papers prior to signing the Bill of Sale. And do not hesitate to contact the breed registry to verify the information on the horse’s papers.

After all the paperwork is signed, be sure to take photographs of your horse; documenting all sides of the horse, front, rear, left and right, as well as any distinguishing marks.

You should also have photographs of yourself with the horse. Keep these photographs, all registration papers and passports and the Bill of Sale together.

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