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'Horses aren't like toasters' – equine trade warning as mis-selling on the rise in lockdown

Horse sales have been booming during lockdown
Horse sales have been booming during lockdown

A NEW Forest equine solicitor has warned anyone buying or selling horses to be on their guard amid a rising number of disputes as sales boom during lockdown.

Ellen Shipton, a specialist with Ringwood law firm Ellis Jones Solicitors, said mis-selling is on the rise and has urged anyone involved in the trading of horses, which are ridden widely in the local area, to ensure agreements are in writing.

“Horse sales have been booming during lockdown with higher prices and a greater number of transactions,” said Ms Shipton, who has been riding since the age of five.

“Sadly, it appears that the number of cases of horses being mis-sold and people being deliberately targeted for mis-selling is increasing.

Ms Shipton said that in some cases, behavioural or physical issues of horses had been “covered up” by those selling them.

Ellen Shipton
Ellen Shipton

“I’ve heard of some horror stories,” she said. “Horses aren’t like toasters where you have a warranty and can take them back.”

She added: “There can also be issues when horses are on loan between two parties, whether that relates to length of agreements, costs and stabling or even actual ownership.

“The best advice in any transaction or agreement of these kinds is to get it in writing. Covering everything off in a legal document will help prevent issues further down the line and protect everyone involved.”

Ms Shipton is a member of the dispute resolution and equine law team at Ellis Jones and has several riding qualifications. She has owned her own thoroughbred for 17 years.

Her team specialises in a range of matters, including buying and selling horses, loan, livery and grazing agreements, professional negligence, and animal welfare.

In Britain the number of horse riders has risen from 1.3-million in 2015 to 1.8-million in 2019, said an Ellis Jones spokesperson.

An investigation by Horse & Hound magazine in December 2020 revealed a trend towards increased horse sales and prices over that year.

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