Because it is that Halloween time of year I thought we should start off with a Frankenstein quote:
"I'm alive, I'm alive!"
What does the
fox lawyer say?
"There are opposing views as to what is alive and the term as herein set-forth is overly broad and unconstitutionally vague..." etc etc.
The lesson of the day: in a breeding contract be sure to clearly define what "live foal" means for the purpose of your business, legal, and financial agreement.
That little one is just too much, right? I snapped this photo of a miniature horse pinto foal named Pajama Party who was recently born at an elite breeding farm for internationally renown miniature horses.
Breeding comes in many different varieties and flavors, many breeders use responsible methods and many do not. A breeding farm may be enormous conglomerates breeding quantity in the search for one or two horses of quality, or there are backyard DIY breeders who think it is fun and sweet for their mare to have a foal.
For any breeding, of any breed and at any financial level you must have (at a minimum):
1. A veterinarian involved in the breeding and gestation
2. A breeding contract between the parties
In your breeding contract or agreement you should define live foal for your transaction.
First, is there a live foal guarantee?
If so, what is the guarantee? This may include refunds or future breedings.
If a future breeding, to the same stallion only, or any of the farm's similar stallions for no charge?
Or is there a credit to be used in a future season?
Is the refund or credit for the entire amount paid, or only for the booking fee or only the stud fee?
What care must be provided for the mare during gestation to ensure the guarantee remains in full force and effect? This usually includes vet checks and reports, limiting or eliminating competition for the mare, and other safety measures.
Second, what is a live foal?
This traditionally is defined as standing up and nursing. Would this be with or without any human assistance? How long is the foal given to stand and nurse independently?
Some contracts may specify that the foal is only considered alive if it is alive for a certain number of hours.
Take into consideration the expense of the breeding, the value of the potential foal, breeding timelines, the value of the stallion, and other unique characteristics when deciding whether a live foal guarantee should be given in your breeding agreement, and if so, according to what terms.
Defining a live foal in your written agreement will take you one legal step closer to meeting the newest member of your herd.