What's your Name, What's your (registration) Number?

There are those who think the horse world would be better off without lawyers; I've been told that equine lawyers "just complicate" things, or that "this release has been used for 10 years and we've never had a problem with it."

In large part, I agree!  The equine world would be so great if no one sued anyone, if everyone accepted personal responsibility for injuries sustained, or responsibility when one has wrongfully caused injury. It would be wonderful if horses were always represented fairly in a sale, and that a person's handshake was a guarantee of complete honesty and integrity.
What an equine community it would be if we never had to anticipate the worst-case-scenario to a deal, or have to clean up the remains from a deal gone wrong.

But we all know that the horse world doesn't work this way.  I do believe there are groups of riders that operate on friendship and within those groups lawsuits are rare (see my post on polo), but history unfortunately is not a guarantee of legal immunity.
The increase of money in equine competitions, such as the prices to show, the cost of training, and the expense of a top-level horse inevitably leads to more greed (such as the equine embezzlement cases), more conflict, and more desperation to win (such as all the drug issues in racing and showing).

(This horse can be a Thoroughbred or Warmblood, depending on what you would like to buy!)

I read a story this morning that was (almost) more unbelievable than any horse fraud I've heard, in
pertinent part from "Rate My Horse Pro:"

[A rider] found herself the proud owner of a beautiful 16.3 h. Dutch Warmblood mare. The previous owner had bought her through an internet ad, and the leggy, elegant, and slightly flat-crouped bay mare was picture perfect as “Princess Wynston,” with a KWPN registration number and pedigree, and official papers on the way. She had no brand, but that was no surprise, considering branding had been banned in Holland. Imagine her new owner’s surprise when the vet came to float her new mare’s teeth, only to find a Thoroughbred Jockey Club tattoo on her upper lip!

Turns out the California horse dealer who sold Wynston under the business name Horses and Ponies had picked up a Thoroughbred mare who looked the part, then faked a Dutch registration number and pedigree."

Can you imagine? It is always smart to lean on the side of reasonable suspicion when buying a horse, and we should always go over a new horse with a fine-tooth comb (i.e., look a gift horse in the mouth!), but the idea that a seller would commit such fraud against a fellow equestrian is just sad.

By the way, the seller's (un)happy ending:
[The Seller from] Wrightwood, California was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for mail fraud, with victims in 23 states and Canada. 

Some may think equine lawyers are unnecessary, but given the evidence of wrongdoing in the horse world, I frankly think that's naive.

See Rate My Horse Pro for more on this story and others.

Photo Credit: Matt Wooley of www.equisportphotos.com