Rights of First Refusal: What You Need to Know

Find out why rights of first refusal can be difficult to enforce and how to ensure such rights are honored.

No account yet? Register


At Equine Legal Solutions, we are frequently asked about rights of first refusal in horse sales.

These inquiries typically come from former owners who are upset because they weren’t notified before a horse was resold or otherwise transferred to a new owner. They want to know if they can get the horse back, but the answer is almost always no.

There are two main reasons why:

  • The right of first refusal wasn’t in writing. Often, the original horse sale was conducted without anything in writing. Other times, the buyer received a simple bill of sale that doesn’t include a right of first refusal. Either way, a verbal agreement will be very hard to enforce, particularly if there were no emails or other evidence supporting the existence of a right of first refusal.
  • The horse is already sold before the former owner finds out. In most states, when the horse has been sold to a third party who is unaware of the right of first refusal, the former owner has no legal case against the horse’s new owner and, therefore, no way to obtain possession of the horse. Instead, the former owner has a legal case for damages against the person who granted the former owner the right of first refusal

    Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

    TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

    Start your free account today!

    Already have an account?
    and continue reading.


No account yet? Register

Written by:

Rachel Kosmal McCart is the founder and principal attorney of Equine Legal Solutions, PC (ELS), an equine law firm based near Portland, Ore. McCart is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law and licensed to practice in four states: California, New York, Oregon, and Washington. She is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. ELS represents clients in litigation, helps resolve equine disputes, drafts customized equine contracts, represents clients in horse industry disciplinary hearings, and incorporates equine businesses. Learn more at www.equinelegalsolutions.com.

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Has your veterinarian used SAA testing for your horse(s)?
87 votes · 87 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!