EQUINE LAW

Part Ownership of a Horse

A written co-ownership agreement is essential when partnering with another person or persons to buy a horse.   The same applies when buying shares in a horse.

If you are willing to put your money into a horse, you should see it as a business investment first and foremost.  It is extremely important for all parties who have participated in horse co-ownership to know exactly the terms of the co-ownership, and the responsibilities that go with part ownership of a horse.  You also need to know how your relationship with the other co-owners is regulated.

Irrespective of whether you part own a horse be it a sports horse, race horse, or a broodmare, and if that co-ownership is with a family, friend or a complete stranger, the importance of your co-ownership agreement will then be evident as the relationship develops, as it will be the document that all parties will look to when questions arise.

The type of questions that frequently arise is who pays the veterinary bills, the feed bill and how are these expenses are shared?  What happens your horse after the horse finishes competing or racing?   Who can dictate when the horse is sold and for what price? And who takes care of the horse in the unfortunate event of injury?

If you have a written co-ownership agreement with your co-owner(s) and when a dispute arises that cannot be resolved by way of agreement between the parties, the only option that may be available to you is to bring a court action to wind up the co-ownership.   A court will then make these important decisions for you, or may Order that the horse be sold and the proceeds of the sale be divided amongst the co-owners.   Therefore, a decision is forced upon you and not left in your hands to decide or choose.

Three handy things to know about equine co-ownership agreements and how they can help you:

1) What if I want to sell my shares in my horse, what can I do?

The co-ownership agreement can set out in writing the terms of what happens when you want to sell your share, and normally states that you must first offer your share in your horse to one of the other co-owners at a defined price.

2) How is the horse’s day-to-day expenses and care/veterinary needs paid for?

How are these expenses divided between the co-owners?

The co-ownership agreement can clearly set out how and when expenses are to be paid. Therefore, you can forecast how much your co-ownership will cost you and you can financially plan for it.

3) My horse is a mare and she may have a breeding value after competing.  How do I approach this subject with the other co-owners?

The question arises as to how to decide when you’re competing mare starts breeding? Another question that may arise is who owns her embryos and who owns her progeny?

If you are a co-owner you should have automatic co-ownership rights in your mare’s progeny and embryos.  Your co-ownership agreement can set out how many embryos are to be taken from your mare annually, how the shares in the mare’s progeny are to be divided, or it can set out how each co-owner can take turns in gaining full ownership of certain foals.

 

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