Ask H&H: my horse is a rig

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    Q: Seven months ago, I purchased a 16hh, five-year-old gelding who had been recently broken. The seller regularly bought and sold horses.

    For the first few months he was fairly well behaved, although he could be tricky to handle and his stallion-like traits were put down to being broken late.

    However, as he built up condition and strength, his behaviour – particularly around mares – has worsened.

    Blood tests showed that he is a rig – an incompletely castrated male. Do we have any legal redress?
    JK, Merseyside

    Unfortunately, given the passage of time, it is highly unlikely you now have a right to formally reject the horse by returning it to the seller and demanding your money back, according to solicitor Stuart Farr, of Laytons Solicitors.

    “However, the fact the seller had been buying other horses with a view to bringing them on and then selling, with at least some degree of regularity, may be sufficient grounds to allege that the individual was dealing horses in the course of a trade,” Stuart said.

    “In that case, you would then be able to utilise the consumer protection rights available to you under the sale of goods legislation.

    “Accordingly, a claim for breach of contract on the grounds that the horse is neither fit for its purpose, or of satisfactory quality, may be sustainable.

    “Alternatively, as it appears you were told the horse was a gelding, it is likely you would be able to mount a claim based on misrepresentation in any event.

    “The representation may either have been innocent, negligent or fraudulent, but in whichever case, you may be entitled to seek damages primarily based on the difference you paid for the horse and its actual value [as a rig] at the time of the purchase,” said Stuart.


    Laytons , tel: 0161 214 1600 www.laytons.com

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (8 April, ’10)

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