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Half the horse

k s swigart

The way that I maintain some semblance of control of the horses
that I breed and sell is to sell only half the horse.  There is
a partnership agreement between me and the "buyer" on the rights
and responsibilities of the parties to the partnership.  Who pays
for what under what circumstances, etc.

These horses cannot be sold without the permission of both
partners, cannot be shown, cannot be bred, etc.

The effect of this is that you have to (like in any partnership),
choose to sell your horses only to those people who you are 
willing to be in partnership with (and are willing to be in 
partnership with you).  You have to decide in advance the extent
to which you agree on how horses should be cared for, etc.  Think
up in advance contingencies and "exit strategies," consider and
discuss in advance the costs of running the partnership and who
will be responsible for those costs.  Decide whether you want to 
insure the actions of the partnership in order to mitigate 
financial liability on the part of the partners. And have it 
specifically laid out what happens to the partnership and the
shared assets if one or both of the parties doesn't hold up its
end of the agreement.

Does this mean that you have to trust the people you sell horses
to (or buy them from)?  Yep.  But if I don't trust somebody 
to be my partner, I doubt I would trust them with my horse.  If 
I didn't trust somebody to take care of a horse that I "leased"
to them, I certainly wouldn't trust them to properly take care
of a horse that I sold to them.

I don't breed a lot of horses, but the ones I do breed I consider
my responsibility for as long as they live; which doesn't mean
that I cannot also find other people who agree with me on the 
way horses ought to be treated that will share that responsibility
with me during the course of the horse's life...but all the money
from any horse that I have sold goes straight into an escrow
account on the off chance that I have to give it back (one of the
terms of all the partnership agreements) if the person doesn't
want the horse anymore.  So far, I haven't had to give anything
back, or to take on any temporary expenses (which is also part
of the partnership agreement). I figure, when the horses that I 
have bred die, I will have a nice retirement fund :).

And there would be a lot fewer unwanted, uncared for horses out
there if their breeders understood that by bringing the horse
into the world, they are responsible for ensuring its care for 
its entire life.

Orange County, Calif.

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