In Oklahoma, selling a horse is considered to be a “sale of goods” and is governed by statute. This is true whether you have a written sales contract or just an oral agreement. For purposes of this blog post, I am using agreement and contract interchangeably. Oklahoma Statutes Title 12A: Uniform Commercial Code
Things to consider when buying or selling a horse in Oklahoma:
- It is always best practice to put the terms of the sale in writing!
- The sales agreement should include a detailed written description of the horse, to include brands, tattoos, microchips, breed registrations number, etc.
- A seller must warrant good title (i.e. the seller must really own the horse at the time of the sale) but can waive all other warranties, express and implied, through a conspicuous written waiver.
- A buyer should have the horse evaluated by a veterinarian within a reasonable time to confirm the horse is sound. The seller can restrict this time period for having the horse evaluated by including a written term giving the buyer a certain amount of time to accomplish this.
- If the buyer wants to take the horse for a “test” ride, the seller should have the buyer sign a liability waiver. Even though under Oklahoma law, 76 Oklahoma Statutes § 50.3, equine facilities are not generally liable for injuries to any person engaged in equine activities when injuries result from the inherent risks of equine activities, it is still a good idea to have the potential buyer and any other by-standers sign a liability release!
- What about risk of loss? A written contract should stipulate at what point the risk of loss passes from the seller to the buyer. While this sounds rather simple, it can be complex.
- When is payment due? Before delivery, at delivery, or over time… (If risk of loss is not provided for in a written term, each of these could impact risk of loss differently.)
- If you are selling a horse to an out-of-state buyer, what state law should govern the sales contract?
This list represents just a few of the many things both buyers and sellers should consider when buying or selling a horse. To avoid pitfalls, it is always a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney when drafting a sales contract.