How to Buy a Racehorse: The Legal Aspects

OLS Solicitors Blog

How to Buy a Racehorse: The Legal Aspects

By Lara Davies on April 9, 2024

racehorse ownership

Embarking on the journey of racehorse ownership can be as thrilling as it is complex, presenting a unique set of legal and financial considerations that potential owners must navigate. As an equine law expert at OLS Solicitors, I’ve guided numerous clients through the intricacies of purchasing a racehorse, ensuring their ventures into the racing world are both legally sound and rewarding. Here, I’ll share essential advice on tackling the legal aspects of racehorse ownership, from syndicate purchases and tax-efficient investments to conducting vital health checks and securing appropriate insurance.


Joining a Syndicate: The Collective Approach


Syndicate ownership offers a more accessible entry point into the racing industry, allowing you to share the costs and joys of racehorse ownership with others. However, it’s imperative to establish a clear syndicate agreement from the outset. This legal document should detail the ownership structure, financial commitments, profit distribution, and exit strategies, ensuring all parties’ rights and responsibilities are transparent. At OLS Solicitors, we specialize in drafting and reviewing these agreements to protect your interests fully.


Maximising Your Investment with EIS


For those considering racehorse ownership as a financial venture, the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) offers attractive tax reliefs, making it a potentially lucrative investment. However, navigating EIS regulations requires expertise to ensure your investment qualifies. Our team at OLS Solicitors can provide the necessary guidance, ensuring your racehorse investment is both compliant and tax-efficient.


The Importance of a Pre-purchase Vet Check


A comprehensive veterinary examination before purchasing a racehorse cannot be overlooked. This step is crucial in uncovering any health issues that could impact the horse’s performance or overall value. Legal disputes can often arise from undisclosed health problems discovered after purchase. At OLS Solicitors, we can help you understand the legal implications of the vet check results, advising on the best course of action should any issues be identified.


 Insuring Your Racehorse


Insurance is a critical component of protecting your investment in a racehorse. From covering veterinary bills to insuring against loss of value or mortality, the right policy can safeguard you against unforeseen financial losses. Our team can assist in reviewing insurance policies, ensuring you have comprehensive coverage that meets your specific needs.


Navigating Caveat Emptor


The principle of caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware,” plays a significant role in the purchase of a racehorse. It’s incumbent upon you, the buyer, to conduct thorough due diligence before finalising your purchase. This includes a detailed vet check, an examination of the horse’s racing history, and an understanding of its training background. Should issues arise post-purchase, having meticulously documented the buying process and any representations made by the seller can prove invaluable. At OLS Solicitors, we’re here to guide you through this process, ensuring you’re fully informed and protected every step of the way.


Your Next Step to Racehorse Ownership


Navigating the complexities of racehorse ownership requires careful planning, detailed due diligence, and expert legal advice. As an equine law expert at OLS Solicitors, I am here to provide you with the guidance and support needed to make your venture into racehorse ownership a success. Whether you’re considering a syndicate purchase, looking into tax-efficient investment schemes, or seeking to ensure your prospective horse is a sound investment, our team has the expertise to assist you.

Don’t embark on this exciting journey alone. Contact us at OLS Solicitors today, and let us help you navigate the legal landscape of racehorse ownership, ensuring your venture is as thrilling as it is rewarding.


For professional advice on buying a racehorse and navigating its legal aspects, reach out to Lara Davies and the team at OLS Solicitors. We’re here to ensure your racehorse ownership journey is a success from the start.

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    Essential Tips for Drafting Horse Loan Agreements

    OLS Solicitors Blog

    Essential Tips for Drafting Horse Loan Agreements

    By Lara Davies on March 11, 2024

    Picture of Lara Davies equine lawyer


    In my role as the Head of Equine Law at OLS Solicitors, I have witnessed numerous cases where poorly drafted or non-existent loan agreements for horses have caused significant challenges for clients. A carefully crafted loan agreement is crucial in clarifying the expectations and responsibilities of both the horse owner and the loanee. In this blog post, I will provide some key considerations and expert advice on drafting a robust loan agreement for horses.

    1. Identification of the Horse

    One of the fundamental aspects of a horse loan agreement is the clear identification of the horse involved. It is essential to document specific details such as the horse’s name, age, breed, and any identifying marks. This will help prevent any disputes or confusion regarding the horse in question.

    2. Duration of the Loan

    Specify the start and end dates of the loan period in the agreement. Additionally, consider incorporating provisions for extending the loan period if both parties mutually agree. Clearly defining the timeframe ensures transparency and avoids any misunderstandings.

    3. Financial Responsibilities

    A well-drafted loan agreement should clearly outline the financial obligations of each party. It is vital to define who will bear the costs associated with veterinary care, farriery, insurance, and daily maintenance. This explicit identification of responsibilities prevents unexpected disputes and ensures smooth coordination between the parties involved.

    4. Use of the Horse

    Define the specific purposes for which the horse may be used during the loan period. This includes specifying the types of riding activities, competitions, and any breeding restrictions. Clearly delineate the permitted activities to protect the horse’s welfare and prevent any unauthorized use.

    5. Termination Conditions

    Include conditions under which the loan agreement can be terminated by either party. This section should cover scenarios such as a breach of agreement, the horse’s illness, or if the horse becomes unsuitable for the loanee. Setting forth termination clauses ensures that both parties are aware of the circumstances that can lead to the agreement’s conclusion.

    6. Insurance

    It is strongly advisable to have the horse insured during the loan period. The loan agreement should clearly state who is responsible for obtaining and paying for the insurance coverage. Insuring the horse safeguards against potential risks and ensures adequate protection for all parties involved.

    7. Dispute Resolution

    An effective loan agreement should include a process for resolving disputes should they arise. Consider outlining a procedure that includes mediation as the initial step before pursuing any legal action. This approach encourages dialogue and can often lead to amicable solutions.


    Drafting a comprehensive loan agreement is essential for the well-being of the horse and the protection of both the horse owner and the loanee. By following the key considerations discussed in this blog post and seeking legal advice when necessary, you can establish a strong contractual foundation that minimises the risk of disputes. Remember, a well-drafted loan agreement promotes transparency, safeguards the interests of all parties involved, and ultimately contributes to a positive and mutually beneficial horse loan experience.

    If you require expert advice or assistance in drafting a loan agreement, please feel free to reach out to the equine law team at OLS Solicitors.

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      Horses and the law: A horsey lawyers unique perspective

      OLS Solicitors Blog

      Horses and the law: A horsey lawyers unique perspective

      By Lara Davies on June 14, 2023

      An article about common legal issues in the horse world in Autumn in the UK

      Horse ownership in the United Kingdom, as anywhere else, is not without its potential legal pitfalls. From horse trading to stable management, every facet of horse-related activities has an associated risk that, if not managed properly, could end up in a legal dispute. While we often enter the world of equestrianism with an optimistic outlook, it’s important to remember that even friendly arrangements can sometimes sour, leading to unexpected legal issues, which we shall explore in this blog post.


      The following blog post not intended as legal advice, but rather to raise awareness about some common areas of legal conflict in the equestrian world. It’s always wise to consult a qualified solicitor for legal advice.


      Horse Ownership and Buying/Selling Horses


      In the UK, the sale and purchase of horses are governed by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015. These laws set out the rights of buyers and sellers and the implied terms in a sale contract. For instance, the horse should be fit for a particular purpose that the buyer has made known to the seller. Non-compliance with these laws could lead to legal issues and even court cases.


      Boarding Stables


      Boarding stables regularly face legal issues with non-paying boarders or those who are consistently late with payments. In such cases, the horse often ends up as the only asset to negotiate with. UK law allows for a “Lien for stabling and pasturage of horses” (Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977). This provides stable owners with a legal right over the horse until the outstanding payment is made.


      It’s also important to have a clear boarding agreement that includes the UK’s Animal Activity Licensing regulations and liability waivers. Remember, though, a liability waiver does not absolve a stable owner from all responsibility. If a boarder can prove negligence, a lawsuit could still be possible.


      Leasing a Horse


      Leasing a horse can offer a win-win situation for both parties, but it’s crucial to have a detailed contract outlining the terms, fees, and exclusions. This can prevent misunderstandings that could lead to legal disputes. The contract should include the lease duration, payment schedule, assigned riding days, and authorized riders, among other things.


      Horse trailers


      Owners of horse trailers should be aware of potential insurance issues when lending out their trailers or offering transport services. Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered and what’s not, as you may find that your home or car insurance won’t cover an accident involving your trailer and someone else’s horse.




      Commercial equestrian businesses in the UK typically carry comprehensive insurance due to the high liability risk associated with their operations. It’s essential to understand exactly what your insurance covers. Trainers and riding instructors need to be cautious and consider obtaining coverage for the care, custody, and control of their clients’ horses, as the venue’s insurance policy may not extend to cover them.


      Living in fear of lawsuits is no way to enjoy the wonderful world of horses. However, it’s always wise to be prepared by having detailed contracts, consulting with a solicitor for complex legal issues, and securing appropriate insurance coverage for your equestrian activities. This proactive approach is the best way to protect your interests and ensure a pleasant and worry-free equestrian experience.

      Contact us for expert advice on your horse related matter.

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        OLS Solicitors launch new equine law service

        OLS Solicitors Blog

        OLS Solicitors launch new equine law service

        By Lara Davies on June 12, 2023

        Lara Hooper equine law expert

        New equine law service launches led by Lara Davies, equestrian and lawyer

        OLS Solicitors is pleased to announce the launch of a new equine law service. The firm’s decision to expand into this area of practice is rooted in their understanding of the unique legal needs of the equine world, including equestrians, farmers, and landowners.


        Senior level expertise in equine matters


        This new service is led by Lara Davies, a Director and solicitor specialising in Matrimonial and Private Children matters, who brings her personal passion and knowledge of the equine industry into play to provide comprehensive legal services tailored to clients’ needs.

        Lara Davies seasoned dressage competitor and horse owner


        Davies, a seasoned dressage competitor, understands the intricacies of the equine world first-hand, having spent her life successfully competing in national and regional level dressage competitions. Her experience in the saddle gives her a unique insight into the challenges and issues equestrians face. Combining this with her legal expertise, she is perfectly placed to guide clients through the complexities of equine law.


        Wide range of equine law services covered


        The equine law services offered by OLS Solicitors span a wide range of areas. These include Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements, Matrimonial Finances, Equine Dispute Resolution, Equine Drafting, and Wills and Inheritance Disputes. Each of these services is tailored to provide specialist advice on how equestrian and agricultural assets are treated and protected, particularly in the context of divorce and inheritance disputes.


        Equine dispute resolution services


        For instance, OLS Solicitors’ Equine Dispute Resolution service assists clients with all aspects of equine disputes, from the mis-selling of equines to loan disputes and ownership disagreements. Their senior solicitors work to resolve disputes efficiently and effectively, aiming to minimise clients’ legal costs.



        Equine drafting services


        The Equine Drafting service, on the other hand, is designed to prevent disputes from arising in the first place. This service offers drafting services in areas like loan agreements, agreements for sale and purchase, ownership and shared ownership, livery agreements, and more.

        Our commitment to the equine world


        In launching this equine law service, OLS Solicitors demonstrate their commitment to serving the unique needs of the equine world. With a team of senior solicitors equipped with personal understanding of the equine and agricultural industry, they are ready to assist clients in protecting their assets and resolving their disputes efficiently.


        The equine industry is complex and multifaceted. Legal issues can be just as complicated, requiring a deep understanding of both the law and the industry. Lara Hooper’s unique blend of legal acumen and personal equine experience places OLS Solicitors in an excellent position to provide a first-class service to their clients. Whether you are a horse owner, farmer, or landowner, you can trust in OLS Solicitors’ equine law services to help you navigate the legal landscape with confidence.

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