Let’s say you’re thinking about selling your horse. You might be wondering what you must do legally to ensure a smooth and fair transaction. All too often, sellers are sued by buyers because they do not disclose what they are supposed to and the buyer feels as if they were deceived. The sale of a horse is contract that is bound by the laws of the state where the horse is purchased. While most states are pretty similar regarding equine law, California is one those states that have a few very special laws on the book to ensure a fair and transparent transaction. Let’s discuss two common questions about equine law you might have if you are selling your horse in California.
Is a written bill of sale required when you sell a horse?
First, you should know that if you are buying or selling a horse in the state of California, you will need to have a written bill of sale that is signed by the buyer, seller, and/or agents. In addition to the signatures, the written bill of sale should have the terms of the sale and the agreed-upon price. This is so there is no uncertainty about the sale terms. While you can go through an attorney, it’s not necessary, but it still might be a good idea to ensure everything is done right legally.
Are you required to disclose important facts about a horse when you sell a horse to a third party?
When it comes to any sale, it’s best to err on the side of caution. While we know you don’t want to scare any buyers away, you don’t want to disclose so little that the buyer doesn’t know what kind of horse they’re buying. If you, for example, don’t disclose that the horse has behavioral issues, you could literally be putting someone’s life in danger if they don’t know that and try riding the horse. It is also against the law in the state of California to knowingly not disclose pertinent information about the horse.
As a seller, you should try to disclose as much information about the horse as possible, so there isn’t any confusion that could lead to legal trouble. It’s probably a good idea to fill out a disclosure form where you write out the horse’s physical description, stabling information, health history, behavioral issues, and feeding habits. This disclosure form should be included with the written bill of sale and signed to protect you, the seller, as well as the buyer.