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Papers, Papers - Who Has the Papers? Part II - Avoiding Registration Paper Disputes

Part one of this series explored the buyer's legal rights against sellers who fail or refuse to provide breed registration papers.  This part examines suggestions for buyers to consider in an attempt to avoid equine registration paper disputes.

Insist on a written sales contract.

Written sales contracts might not eliminate every sales dispute, but they can narrow disputes substantially.  A simple sales contract can take as little as five minutes to write.  Two essential ingredients of a sales contract are: the seller's warranty that he owns the horse and is legally capable of transferring ownership to the buyer, and the seller’s obligation to immediately transfer papers to the buyer in a form required by the applicable breed registries.

Ask to see the horse's current breed registration papers.

Maybe the seller lacks papers.  Maybe the horse has never been registered.  Before parting with your money, demand to see the papers now.

Contact the breed registry.

Some breed registries, through online systems,  help you identify the horse's last recorded owner of record.  This may help confirm the seller's interest in the horse, but keep in mind that there might be other (non-recorded) owners of the horse.  (As this blog addressed, a few courts have ruled that a horse’s registration papers are not necessarily conclusive evidence of ownership.)

Demand proof of an agency relationship from the "seller."

What if you are not directly dealing with the horse's owner but with someone acting on the owner's behalf?  Although the person with whom you are dealing might call himself the sales agent, the law may impose a duty on you to confirm this.  Find out whether an agency relationship truly exists and whether the agent has authority to sell you the horse.   When in doubt, ask to speak to the horse's owner and demand that he or she confirm the agent's authority.  Consider having the horse's owner sign the sales contract.


Careful planning can help you avoid disputes.  A knowledgeable lawyer can help, as well.

Read Part 1

Categories: Sales/Disputes

Photo of Julie I. Fershtman

is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit and, and

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Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed this week by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.

Honors & Recognitions

Congratulations, Julie! We're proud to share that Julie Fershtman has received two prestigious awards.

On April 13, 2013, she received the American Youth Horse Council's 2013 "Distinguished Service" Award. As the award itself states, she received it "[i]n recognition of years of dedicated service to the American Youth Horse Council and tireless efforts to touch the lives of youth involved with horses." For more information about the American Youth Horse Council, please visit

On May 7, 2013, Julie received the 2013 "Industry Award" from the Michigan Equine Partnership for her work over the years supporting legislation to promote and protect the Michigan equine industry. For more information about the Michigan Equine Partnership, please visit


We're pleased to share that Julie just won a case in Michigan where she defended a boarding and training stable that was sued by a visitor who was injured in the barn aisle. Julie cautions that this case might have been avoided altogether if the stable required every visitor to sign its waiver/release of liability. (Julie, interestingly, drafted that stable's release document years ago but the stable only presented it to customers.) Make sure that your release is well-worded and complies with the laws of your state.

Other Articles

"The Seller's Contract Includes an "As Is" Disclaimer – Now What?" - Desert Mirage Magazine, August 2013

Win Equine law Books!

We're always on the lookout for good article and update ideas for the Equine Law Blog. Please share yours! We'll give the sender of best tip of the month a free copy of Julie Fershtman's books, EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE and MORE EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE. Click here to send your ideas. [For more info on these and other publications written by Julie Fershtman, please visit and or call her directly at (248) 785-4731.]

Large Step Forward for the Horse Industry

We applaud the American Horse Council ( for its national marketing initiative for the horse industry. The AHC joined together ten national associations and large corporate industry stakeholders to make this happen. We await its marketing plan, which will propose ways to help people become more interested in horses and equine activities, either as participants or spectators.


Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.

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