The Mane Point: a legal blog for smart horses and their people
By Allison J. Farrell of Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC on 02/23/2021
Spring Horse Fever? Keep a Cool Head with a Horse Buying Checklist

As I sit at my computer on this frozen February day, with our fields iced over and the horses sporting winter blankets, it is hard to believe that the sun and warm temperatures will ever return to our little corner of West Virginia (WV). But they eventually will, and I must admit that, despite the ice storm gripping the nation, I already have spring horse fever. Due to this affliction, I finally ordered the trail saddle I have been talking about for two years, and I am trying to schedule dates for trail rides and horse shows.

Image of a black and white horse in the snow, representing the need to balance spring horse fever with a horse buying checklist as recommended here by a WV equine lawyer.

If you also suffer from this same ailment, then spring horse fever may find you looking for a new horse. Exciting! If so, then I recommend that you make a horse buying checklist. Believe me, when the excitement of looking at a new horse combines with your pre-existing condition of spring horse fever, you may forget a few things. Like the time I forgot my TRAILER and had to double back two hours one-way to pick up our new mare. (Embarrassing, but true.) 

What to Include on Your Horse Buying Checklist

In considering the items that should be on your horse buying checklist, you of course need the obvious: Horse? Check. Seller’s name and address? Check. Your ride or die horse friend to make the road trip with you? Check. 

The specific circumstances of your buying arrangement and plans for horse ownership will dictate many of the details that need to be addressed when buying your horse. For your protection, a formal horse sale agreement might be necessary. The counsel of an attorney with knowledge and experience in the equestrian industry is indispensable in many transactions.

Incorporating Elements of the Horse Sale Agreement

Depending on the price of the horse and what you plan to do with it, you should consider a few additional items for your checklist. These include details like a vet check, a farrier check, and a trial period during which you can try out the prospect and see if he or she is a good fit for you and your discipline.

When an Equine Lawyer Is Needed

Of course, problems can arise when the purchase and sale transaction spans more than a day. For example, what happens if a vet check reveals an underlying problem? Or you take the prospect on trial for two weeks, and the horse is injured while in your care? This is when you should think about adding “consult with a WV equine lawyer” to your horse buyer’s checklist. Problems can also arise after a “hand-shake” deal, when, for example, your new horse has an undisclosed illness.

An experienced equine attorney can help you draft a purchase and sale agreement that will protect your rights (and your wallet) as a buyer or a seller. You don’t want to make a $25,000 mistake buying the show jumper of your dreams only to discover, after he’s home, that he has the beginnings of navicular disease.

Consult with a Licensed Equine Lawyer

Purchase and sale agreements are not for all situations, but a consultation with an experienced and licensed equine attorney is something that you should consider adding to your horse buying checklist. Here at Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC, we offer discounted consultations to our equine clients in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (PA) so that you can discuss your situation with us and then decide if you want to move forward with additional legal representation. Happy horse shopping—this is the only thing I know that cures spring horse fever!

Allison J. Farrell
Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC
215 S. Third Street, Suite 400
Clarksburg, WV 26301
(304) 399-9763
Contact Allison