Saturday, September 7, 2013

Equine Legal Issues--registration

Rachel McCart is the owner of Equine Legal Solutions, located in Oregon state. Her firm specializes in legal actions around horse ownership.   Rachel has ridden horses all her life and currently rides in three-day events.   She blogs about the legal issues revolving around equines such as misrepresenting a horse, slander, abandoned horses--even book reviews on equine topics.

Rachel has written several posts about horse registration papers.  Having a horse's registration papers is not the equivalent of legal ownership of the horse.  The registration with the breed registry may not have been updated for many reasons.  However, Rachel McCart provides an excellent reason for getting the registration updated in your name as soon as you buy the horse.

Who owns the horse if breed
registration is not transferred?
"As a result, registration papers provide a presumption of who the legal owner of a horse is, but that presumption can be easily overcome. Here's a common horse ownership dispute fact pattern. Betty Buyer buys a horse from Sam Seller. The horse is registered with a breed association. The registration papers show Sally Salesman as the horse's owner but two years ago, Sally sold the horse to Sam. Sam fulfilled all of his obligations under the purchase agreement he had with Sally. At the time of sale, Sam explains to Betty that Sam purchased the horse from Sally, but never transferred the horse into Sam's name, and gives her the original registration papers and a transfer form signed by Sally. Before Betty sends in the transfer form, Sally (who is angry when she finds out Sam resold the horse to Betty) obtains duplicate papers from the breed registry and claims to be the owner of the horse, making Betty's life miserable and preventing her from registering the horse in her name. Frustrated because she can't show the horse at registry-sanctioned shows until she gets it registered in her name, Betty sues Sally, seeking a declaratory judgment that she owns the horse. Betty will almost certainly win her case, because even though the horse may be registered in Sally's name and Sally may have a set of original registration papers, Betty can show the purchase contracts and proof of payment evidencing her superior claim of legal ownership, which trumps Sally's registered ownership in this situation. Note that Betty could have avoided this legal hassle by immediately registering the horse in her name, however!"


This is really good reason for updating the registry papers with the USIHC if you buy an Icelandic horse.

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