Horse dealer Paul Anderson of Braeside Equestrian in Fife is being investigated by Trading Standards following a string of complaints from unhappy customers.

Mr Anderson of Braeside Farm, Collessie, in Fife, sold a 15.2hh Dutch Warmblood to Paul Murray from Edinburgh, stating the mare was “suitable for a 12-year-old”.

Mr Murray was given the eight-year-old mare, known as Samosa, for his 12-year-old daughter Rebecca in exchange for a warmblood, Warwick, whom Mr Anderson had initially sold to the Murrays.

Mr Murray paid £4,500, and had neither horse vetted.

“The second time Rebecca rode Warwick, it bucked her off violently and she broke her leg,” he said. “A week after we had Samosa, she started to display similar behavioural problems to Warwick, so I called the vet.”

Samosa was assessed by vet Sarah Gasper from the Royal (Dick) Vet School in Edinburgh. During the examination the mare reared twice, narrowly missing the vet’s head, and lunged at a Shetland pony being led past.

“I was concerned for Mr Murray’s daughter’s safety,” said Ms Gasper, who found Samosa is chronically lame and “temperamentally unsuited” to a 12-year-old girl.

“There’s no doubt about how foolish I’ve been — but that’s the pressure you feel when your teenager wants ‘that’ horse,” said Mr Murray, who has complained to Trading Standards.

He has also instructed a solicitor, and intends to take legal action against Anderson’s partner, Rose Craigie, in whose name Braeside Equestrian is registered.

But Paul Anderson said he has also taken advice on the matter, claiming that Samosa was ridden happily by his own 11-year-old son.

He told H&H he advised Mr Murray his daughter would be better suited to a “cobby type”, but was assured Rebecca would be given expert supervision.

“The mare is a lovely horse with a lovely temperament,” said Mr Anderson, who claims the mare became “fizzy” after being confined to her stable and overfed.

A number of other clients and witnesses have spoken to H&H to complain about Braeside Equestrian, and some have asked not to be named.

Braeside Farm is now for sale, and Mr Anderson said he is “scaling down for the winter”.

Fife Trading Standards team leader Geoff Bates confirmed that they are investigating complaints. Read trading standards’ advice when buying a horse.

Read this news story in full in the current issue of Horsee & Hound (11 October, ’07), on sale now