Horse Sellers’ Disclosure Obligation

What behavioral or health information do you need to share when selling a horse?

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Online equine forums are rich with tales of woe from unhappy horse buyers.   Often, someone will post that horse sales are “buyer beware.” However, this is simply not true—horse sellers have a legal obligation to disclose every fact reasonably likely to influence the buyer’s decision and/or the horse’s fair market value.

Here are some examples of common conditions horse sellers must disclose, and why. Please note this list is for illustrative purposes only and isn’t intended to be all-inclusive.

Behavioral Issues


Why horse sellers should disclose: Rearing is one of the most dangerous behaviors a horse can exhibit. A rearing horse can fall over backwards and crush its rider, or otherwise cause the rider to fall off and be seriously injured or even killed. Horses that have developed a habit of rearing are also notoriously difficult to train not to rear. Even if the horse hasn’t reared in a long time, the behavior may come back if the horse is in a new setting, has a new rider, etc

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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

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