Selling Your Horse: How to Do it Successfully and Legally
Four Key Steps to Reduce Your Risk
1. Get a Release
When you have a horse for sale, numerous potential buyers of all ability levels will probably come out to look at him. When potential buyers come to your barn, ask them to sign a liability release, even if they are not riding. This simple measure will help protect you from liability in the event that an accident happens.
2. Get a Deposit
If you have an interested buyer but the sale is not complete, get a deposit from the buyer before you agree to take your horse off of the market. The deposit should be in the form of cash or a cashier’s check, as personal checks may bounce. The deposit amount should be enough to show the buyer’s serious intentions. If the buyer changes his mind and doesn’t complete the sale, whether you get to keep any part of the deposit is a matter of agreement between you and the buyer. For this type of sale, you will need an agreement that clearly defines the conditions of sale and the deposit terms.
3. Put the Sale Contract in Writing
Unless you put the entire sale agreement in writing and have the buyer(s) sign it, it will be very difficult to prove what your agreement was if you have a dispute. For example, if you accept a deposit from a potential buyer and the buyer ultimately decides not to keep the horse, will you get to keep the deposit? Your sale contract should cover this term as well as all other elements of your understanding with the buyer. ELS offers four different downloadable Sale Contracts.
4. Get Paid
Many trusting sellers accept personal checks and partial payments, only to find out later that the buyer’s bank account isn’t as good as his word. When making appointments to show your horse to prospective buyers, make sure you tell them you will require cash, a cashier’s check or money order. If you must accept a personal check, wait for the check to clear your bank account before the horse leaves your property.