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“Bombproof” horse dealers loose court case over Samson

An elderly and ailing horse named Samson is to end his days at a loving home after Lincolnshire owner Karen Sanger won a court case against his dealers.

Mrs Sanger, who had not ridden for 15 years, bought 17.2hh Samson from horse dealers Bombproof of Newton by Toft, Lincolnshire, as a quiet confidence-giving ride for her and her learner-rider husband.

But a vetting revealed that the horse, whose age was given as 16 on his passport, was closer to 20 and suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“They said he had been regularly used for cross-country. But my vet told me he should not even be trotted and suggested putting him to sleep,” said Mrs Sanger.

“I tried to return him and was told I could exchange him, but the only other horse they had was a 13.2hh Haflinger — a children’s pony.”

Mrs Sanger decided to take Bombproof to court to get her money back and rang H&H for some advice.

We put her in touch with two more dissatisfied Bombproof customers who had bought Samson previously.

Diane Lewis of Ayr bought the horse unseen in November 2006 for £4,500, but immediately had to quarantine the horse as he had severe nasal discharge and she feared he had strangles.

Ms Lewis says Bombproof charged her £1,000 to come and collect Samson, but eventually gave her back the remainder of her money.

Stephen Booth of Bolton, Lancashire bought Samson from Bombproof on 23 February the following year, but returned him on 9 March — the day before Mrs Sanger viewed him.

Mr Booth won a small claims action at Bury County Court on 13 February this year (news, 28 February). He said Samson was suffering from severe nasal discharge when he was delivered to him.

Now Mrs Sanger has won her small claims case against Louise Thomas and Marie Whitaker of Bombproof at Boston County Court on 11 April this year.

But she will not be returning the horse to the company.

“They would just resell him again and this will go on and on,” said Mrs Sanger. “We took a loan out to buy him so I have not been able to buy another horse, but he will stay with us now for the rest of his life — he is spoilt rotten.”

A judge ordered Ms Thomas and Ms Whitaker to pay Mrs Sanger £4,600 — Samson’s cost, minus £500 (his true value according to the court) and expenses.

Bombproof is no longer in business, but neither Ms Thomas nor Ms Whitaker returned our calls.

Louise Thomas was working for another company registered to the same yard — Lazyplods — when she was contacted by H&H in February.

Lazyplods appears also to have gone out of business, and at least one pony previously advertised by Lazyplods is now registered to a company called Crack On.

Stephen Booth has still not received his money from Louise Thomas and Bombproof, two months after the judgement against them.

He told H&H he may take further legal action.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (1 May, ’08)

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