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Exam T


OUTCOME OF THE CASE: A LESSON IN LEASING


he lease contract signed by the parties ultimately dictated the outcome of the case. Because the lease


contract did not anticipate early termination for any reason, the parents were held to be responsible for all costs associated with the horse until the conclusion of the lease term and were ordered to pay the trainer to have the horse boarded at the trainer’s Pennsylvania facility through the end of the lease term. The lease contract had required the parents to purchase full mortality and major medical coverage, but did not specify that the parents would insure the horse against loss of use. The parents were not held to be responsible for compensating the trainer for any alleged diminution in the horse’s value as a result of the injury. The trainer’s claim for future “lost income” (i.e. lease fees) was rejected as speculative. The parents’ fraud claim against the trainer was rejected because they could not prove the trainer knew the horse had been “nerved,” and could not prove that the procedure had actually been performed. This case illustrates the hazards of reaching a compromise


that is not reduced to writing. At the point the trainer agreed to take the horse back, the parents should have insisted on a written agreement amending the lease contract. Understandably, at the point the trainer agreed to take the


horse back, the parents were hoping the trainer would fi nd their daughter a suitable replacement and did not “want to make waves” and risk losing the trainer’s cooperation. As is frequently the case, the relationship was doomed at the point the parents were worried about “making waves.”


In the fi nal


analysis, it would have cost the parents less to rehabilitate the horse at their farm in North Carolina. Instead, they ended up losing the lease fee, paying for the injured horse to board at the trainer’s facility for almost a full year, attorneys’ fees (to defend against the trainer’s claim for the full value of the horse) and still having to lease a replacement horse for their daughter to show.


About the author: Krysia Carmel Nelson is an attorney from Virginia who is a


nationally-recognized expert in equine law. Attorney Nelson represents horse owners, trainers, riders, breeders, equestrian facilities, farms, clubs and associations


across all nationally and internationally recognized disciplines. As a lifelong equestrian, she currently rides and competes her Hanoverian Affi rmed on Appeal in the amateur hunters. She can be reached at eqlaw@aol.com. (Photo © The Book LLC 2011)


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