Three experienced sport horse dealers and a top equine lawyer have launched Britain’s first dealers’ registration scheme in a bid to root out corruption, provide protection for buyers and improve the reputation of the horse dealing industry.

Show jumper Simon Davies, who is chairman of the new British Equine Dealers’ Association (BEDA), formed the idea about a year ago and has spent the past few months putting the finishing touches to the scheme. He enlisted the help of Canon Prof Barry Peachey, chairman of the Equine and Animal Lawyers’ Association (EALA).

“We are trying to cut out the rogues and clean this business up,” Davies explains. “We want to make people feel even safer buying from a dealer than privately.

“To compare with another industry, if you open Yellow Pages to get the boiler fixed, you look for a Corgi-registered plumber. Until now, there has been nothing like this with horses in this country. When the scheme gets established, the general public will recognise that they should avoid any dealer who is not registered.”

The Federation is loosely based on a similar system in Holland, which has been established for some years. Disputes between BEDA’s members and their customers will be resolved through a tribunals system administered by Prof Peachey, who works independently of the federation.

Disputes between BEDA’s members and their customers will be resolved through a tribunals system administered by Prof Peachey, who works independently of the federation.

“It’s a bit like the ABTA scheme [for travel agents], and will give the public confidence and the honest dealers protection – but it won’t protect the crooks,” says Prof. Peachey.

“I get about a dozen calls a week [at the EALA] from poor suckers who have been cheated by horse dealers and I’m sure that’s the tip of the iceberg. We want to put dealers on the spot and say: ‘You register or the public won’t touch you’.”

Dealers, who will pay a £500 annual subscription to be on the register, will use standard form contracts for every sale, with detailed terms and conditions in which the seller provides certain warranties and agrees to disclose, for example, any vices. The £500 subscription may be flexible for dealers handling only a few horses a year, depending on individual circumstances.

To receive more information or join, contact Simon Davies (tel: 01494 712838 or 07802 410262).

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