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Once per month, this blog will share my insights on the facinating world of the horse business.
Although I will not be taking comments on this blog, your feedback is welcome - email link

Past Cases of the Month are available at this link

The current Case of the Month is available at this link


January 2022
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Blog - Case of the Month from August 2010

Many years ago I was asked to review the circumstances surrounding the rather mysterious death of a Quarter Horse at an Oklahoma show facility. The owners had put in a claim under their mortality insurance for $50,000.00, the face amount of the policy.

I hired a separate independent veterinarian who performed a necropsy on the animal, much to the alarm of the owners, I might add. In fact, I had to retain the services of the insurance company’s attorney and the local sheriffs department to prevent the owner’s own veterinarian from interfering with the procedure.

Upon examining the details of the case, the IVE, (Independent Veterinary Examination), determined that the horse had died of a severe anemic condition; the horse was dehydrated with very little blood in his system.

The insurance company’s veterinarian discovered that the horse had lost several quarts of blood; the owner and their own vet could provide no reasons for the animal’s condition. This information was turned over to the insurance claims adjuster with the report’s findings suggesting possible fraud.

The insurance company then required the claimant to sue for recovery of any part of the $50,000.00 since there was little evidence as to how the blood was removed and by whom; the claim was eventually paid but at a much reduced rate.

The news of the “jugging” of a very good show horse spread widely and the exhibitors were barred from further showing under “for cause” provisions of many horse show contracts.

Unfortunately, the draining of blood in a competitive western pleasure show horse was often used by unscrupulous exhibitors in an effort to quiet the horse in the show ring.

Situations such as the above are extremely rare now since much more aggressive examination techniques are used by all the horse show associations. In addition, most exhibitors would never do anything as horrible to horses that give us so very much and ask for nothing in return.


February 2022
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Blog - Case of the Month from November 2007

Case of the Month concerned a dude ranch in Hawaii.

On a trail ride, one of the horse’s bridles literally fell apart from neglect. Unfortunately, the horse ran off causing the plaintiff to be severely injured.

The plaintiff won a substantial pre-trial judgment after witnesses and I testified at a mediation hearing. We showed that the dude ranch knew of the neglected tack and equipment, but chose to do nothing about it. The insurance saw the “writing on the wall” and paid up.

The maintenance of the tack and equipment is so important and easily done. Good records and procedures would have eliminated this insurance claim settlement.


March 2022
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Blog - Case of the Month from November 2013

The importance of verifying the quality and quantity of horse medicines is very important as in this month’s case involving use of a horse wormer on an older horse never wormed before.

The client had been carrying on a regimen of giving worming medicine to an old horse that had not been wormed in many years. Unfortunately, the dosages for an older non-wormed animal (horse) may cause an impaction and can lead to death.

Unfortunately, the horse’s owner, a complete novice in equine matters, did not seek veterinary help until the old horse was in the end stages of dying. He sued the drug’s manufacturer anyway claiming the instructions were not specific enough on cases where a previously un-wormed horse received the de-wormer.

Not wishing to suffer the trashing from the media, the insurance company paid out a small settlement.

Again the idea of common sense is operative in this situation and most horse owners are much more observant than the horse owner above. This lesson is so clear. Horses need an owner/caretaker who has at least minimum abilities to care for a horse. Horses do not take care of themselves; God has assigned that job to us.


April 2022
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Blog - Case of the Month from November 2014

As I frequently say to my staff of super ladies, “Get a load of this…”

My client attorney had presented me with a case involving an absolute beginner….as in “had never even been within a hundred feet of a horse” …a beginner.

Anyway, she takes her family to a local riding stable in town. She really made sure the wranglers all knew that she and her family were ALL BEGINNERS.

The novice wrangler assigned her a horse who had a hard time even standing still to allow the wrangler to put the saddle and bridle on. That was a tip off that this whole project was not going to end well.

The lady was helped onto the horse who promptly took off at a run and aimed for the stable wall, with the obvious plan of scraping her off on the wall. The woman didn’t make it that far since when she pulled on the reins to stop the mad dash…the reins broke! She now had a runaway horse without any reins giving her no way to even try to stop the horse.

Needless to say the law suit didn’t even make it to trial after the insurance claims adjuster verified the broken reins as well as the horrible condition of the other tack.

I’ve been in this business for over 40 years and I haven’t seen a rein-breakage case ever. Please send me an email and let me know if you’ve ever had a similar problem.


May 2022
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Blog - Case of the Month from December 2015

As you might imagine, after 30 some years examining and often testifying at trials or writing opinions regarding horse sales and related activities, I have formed thoughts on ethics relating to such sales.

I have seen so many ways that crooks have managed to swindle and otherwise cheat the unsuspecting horse buyer. It’s just not right that folks trying to buy a good horse for their child, as an example, get cheated by an unethical horse dealer or seller.

One answer, and one that must be stressed more often, is that the actual owner of the horse in question, must stress that the person selling the horse, must do it in an entirely honest way. Remembering that it “takes two to tango,” as the saying goes, the seller bears responsibility in making sure that the sale goes through as it should. The actual horse’s owner bears a large amount of responsibility in making sure that there is no dishonest behavior in the sale.

I would suggest that a contract be drawn up that would guarantee that the sale is done in an ethical and honest way, and if there is something in the sale that is not honest, the actual seller or broker for the sale will be penalized. So it’s just not enough that you, the horse’s owner perhaps pays a sale commission, but that the sale is done in an absolutely above board manner.

If you have questions concerning the proper method of selling, (or buying), a horse, please feel free to call me at 623-582-8635 and I would be happy to review your upcoming deal with any eye to honest dealings, and at no charge too.


June 2022
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Blog - Case of the Month from March 201

This month’s case involved a dentist who hoped to set up a retirement account for him and his wife. He ran an Arabian breeding farm which specialized in training and showing his horses.

He followed the advice of IRS Section 183 regarding the items he needed follow in order to avoid the tax audit.

Unfortunately, the agent assigned to his case was new and didn’t understand that the dentist had in fact been meticulous in keeping immaculate records and was actually doing all that was required.

The case went to trial and the IRS wanted to settle all the way up the court house steps since they eventually discovered they should never have gone after the dentist in the first place. He wisely retained the very best tax firm who in turn hired my services. The law firm and NAES presented an open and shut case which proved the dentist ran his business in an honest and flawless way. Finally the judge’s decision came down showing the dentist prevailing in all areas.

The lesson points out how important retaining the right help and advice can be, especially since the case ended well with the taxpayer dentist winning and not owing anything at all.

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