Would you Warrant that your Warranties are Warranted?

When warranties come with our kitchen appliances sometimes we have to pay for them, sometimes we have to send in paperwork to secure them, and more often than not, the rules of the universe dictate that the appliance will break the day after the warranty expires.

Warranties in horse transactions usually don't involve a "won't go lame in 6 months or your money back" guaranty, but do revolve around assertions made by the seller to the owner in regard to the suitability and use of the horse.

Photo Source: HorseandMan.Com

In the law there are two main types of warranties: implied and express
An example of express warranties in horse sales is in the following case:

On Rate Your Horse Pro I read a pleading by a California horse buyer who sued the seller for negligence, fraud, breach of contract, and other grounds- the dispute revolved in large part around the seller's alleged warranties about the horse's suitability for the buyer's use.
According to the pleading, the seller told the buyer that this particular horse was very safe for beginners; that he was great on trails, safe around water and motorcycles, was perfect for children, and preferred to stand still rather than move at all.  
(I believe most of us would classify such a horse as "bomb-proof.")

But after purchase, the buyer fell off the horse when the horse "violently bucked and threw a tantrum and broke gait into a canter" (quote is paraphrased, keep in mind this was written by the buyer's attorney!); the buyer claimed that the warranties the seller had made about the horse being safe and slow, etc. were false.
And the court held that the buyer won.
The horse had been purchased for $6,800, and the court gave the following monetary judgment:


Special damages, including actual medical expenses totaling $22,676.42;
Breach of contract damages totaling $8200;
Emotional distress damages totaling $50,000;
Future medical expenses totaling $7,500;
Pain and suffering totaling $200,000.
The total judgment amount awarded is $288,376.42

The lesson to be learned from this case is two-fold;
First, your purchase of sale agreement needs to specify whether any warranties are made about the horse or not, and who bears the risk of any breaches of those warranties.
Secondly, apart from what your sale agreement dictates, in the effort to close a sale the seller must take great care that what is said about the horse is true, and the seller most likely should not make a verbal or implied warranty that the horse would be a great fit for this particular buyer; additionally, it would be wise to remind beginning riders/ buyers in writing and verbally that horses are unpredictable animals and cannot be relied upon to act consistently on any given day.


As a seller of a horse, what kind of warranties do you make- either verbally or in a written contract- as to the suitability of the horse for the rider? ("This horse will be perfect for your 2'6" competition goals," vs. "this horse will cinch the Championship medal for you this summer")
Or, what kind of warranties do you expect from a seller when you buy a horse? ("Will this horse have the ability to go up to 4' jumper courses/ Grand Prix Dressage in the next year?")

And speaking of unexpected bucks, my old reliable 17 year old arthritic mare gave an enormous buck today out of the blue; horses are unpredictable so keep your heels down and your helmets on!