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Selling a horse doesn’t just involve an exchange of money as it also includes some legal processes, more especially so if the horse in question is of a special breed or one that has won major derby events. For this exchange, you need a horse bill of sale – a legal document that details a transaction between you and the buyer with regards to the sale.

What to include?

A horse bill of sale documents the sale or transfer of a horse between two parties, you as the seller and the person interested in buying your horse. After you have completed the transaction, the equine bill of sale becomes proof of ownership of the horse, that it has been officially transferred to the buyer.

Once the document has both of your signatures, it becomes a legally binding agreement should either party change your mind or if a dispute arises. The horse sale contract is proof that a transaction occurred and should include the following:

  • Seller refers to the current owner of the horse up for sale.
  • Purchaser refers to the person who plans to buy the horse.
  • Description includes details about the horse like it’s date of birth, breed, sex, registration number, tattoos or markings, coat color, and other details,
  • Sire refers to the details about the father of the horse and its registration number.
  • Dam refers to the details about the mother of the horse and its registration number.
  • Price refers to the sale price of the horse and the payment terms.
  • Warranties refer to whether you will sell your horse “as is” or if you will provide any guarantees
  • Date refers to when you sold your horse to the purchaser

This document may also address the following:

  • Breeding Rights refers to whether you will also transfer the rights to breed the horse to the purchaser.
  • Commission refers to whether you or the purchaser will pay a trainer, an agent, or any third-party a percentage or fixed amount from the purchase price for assisting with the deal.
  • Deposit refers to whether and under what conditions you must refund the purchaser’s deposit if they reject your horse after confirming the health of the horse with a vet.
  • Registration Papers confirm when you should transfer the official registration documents to the purchaser and make sure all of the details match.
  • Veterinarian’s Examination shows whether the purchaser can get a pre-purchase veterinary exam with a blood sample from a local vet, especially if you’re selling the horse “as is.”

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When do you need this document?

It’s always a helpful and practical move to put the purchase of your horse into a written agreement. The horse bill of sale takes into account the different options when selling or purchasing a horse. You should consider having a horse sale agreement if you:

  • Plan to sell or buy a horse and you want to put all of the contract details in writing.
  • Plan to sell or buy a horse and you want to see what you need to prepare for the transactions.
  • Plan to give a horse away or you will receive a horse as a gift.

The requirement of this document depends on your state. But even if your state doesn’t require the agreement, it is still recommended to have a written, defined understanding of your responsibilities and rights.

How do you write a bill of sale for a horse?

The horse bill of sale is an official document that contains the details of a transaction between you and a buyer concerning the sale and change of ownership of your horse. Regarding the horse’s sale, you would use the same procedure as in the sale of a house or a car.

The horse purchase agreement proves useful should a dispute arise regarding the ownership of the horse, if the buyer has any questions regarding its lineage, or should the buyer request an inspection of your horse for health conditions.

In such a case, the buyer needs to submit a security deposit which you will subtract from the amount due should you both agree to proceed with the sale. Here are the steps to create your own horse bill of sale template if you plan to sell your horse:

  • List the parties involved and the date
    You should indicate this information in the document.
  • Provide a description of your horse
    This includes the name of your horse, its breed, gender, date of birth, its registration number. It is also important to include an appropriate description of the horse.
  • Indicate price and payment details
    You should express the price information in detail. Provide the agreed-upon price. In cases where there is a request for a health inspection, indicate the date when the check-up will happen.
  • State if there is a need for a deposit or security pledge
    If applicable, you must also state the settled amount of the security deposit or the pledge. You should also indicate the condition of your horse.
  • Signatures
    You and the buyer must sign the document along with the date when you both signed. You should also provide the signature of a witness.
  • Notary Public Acknowledgement
    After you have completed the document and everyone involved have affixed their signatures, the notary public will offer the required information and acknowledgment.

How to buy a horse?

If you find yourself at the other end of the spectrum and you want to buy a horse, you should also learn about the horse bill of sale. It may seem easy to own a horse but this actually entails a huge personal responsibility.

Aside from the cost of buying a horse, it also requires plenty of experience and knowledge. But if you feel like you’re ready for this endeavor, you can follow these steps apart from creating a horse sale contract:

  • Decide on the type of horse you will buy
    There are many different horses, each one suited for a particular need. Therefore, it is important for you to know which type of horse you want to purchase.
    If you’re a starter, it’s recommended to start with a well-trained and calm horse. It’s best to consult with an experienced horse trainer to help you learn the horse’s needs. If you’re a breeder or you will use the horse for sports or show, chances are you already know everything about horses. But you can still consult with more experienced individuals.
  • Determine your budget
    Remember that a horse will need a large space, shelter, a fence, plenty of food, and a lot of TLC. All these requirements can put a dent in your finances if you aren’t ready. Therefore, it’s recommended that you work out a budget and figure in the costs of tack, food, boarding, vet expenses, and everything else your horse will need.
  • Look for a seller
    Once you have decided which type of horse to buy and you have the budget for it, you’re now ready to purchase. Try looking for sellers from people you might know, ads, breeders, or even at auctions.
    You should verify the credibility of the seller by asking plenty of questions about the horse you want. If the seller has a clear record and they’re knowledgeable about the horse, chances are, you can trust them.
  • Give the horse a ride
    Go and check the horse personally before you decide to buy it. Aside from watching the owner handle the horse, you should do the same. If possible, you should try to ride it too.
    Ask questions about its history, if it has had any health issues or injuries, and if there is anything else you must know. Bring a vet along and an experienced trainer to check the health of the horse.
    You might also consider visiting the horse a couple of times just to make sure that it’s in good health and it’s the right one for you. You can even request the seller to take the horse home for a couple of days. Usually, owners will agree. This short stint might convince you that you’re purchasing the right horse.
  • Negotiate the price and give your deposit
    When you feel confident enough that this horse is truly what you need and want, you can start negotiating with the seller for the price. Make sure that the seller will put what you agreed upon in writing. Giving a deposit to show that you’re serious about the purchase is highly recommended as a sign of good faith.
  • Pre-purchase the vet examination
    It’s also recommended for a vet to give a physical exam of the horse. This ensures that the horse doesn’t have any problems before you purchase it. Usually, with a horse purchase agreement, sales are “as is”. You don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on an unhealthy horse.
  • Finalize the sale
    After everything is in writing and you have made the payments, you will need a notary public to make everything official and secure the sale against any potential fraud. Notary publics are usually found at the county or local offices. After your transaction, you will be the proud owner of a horse!


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