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Registration papers - effect on price of horse

From: Susan

Hi Jessica,

Susan again. Thanks for the good advice a few months ago re: sharing a lease with the show rider. I was able to get up my courage to talk frankly with the trainer, and she said many of the same things you did, but was a lot more flexible and relaxed about everthing than I gave her credit for. Anyway, thanks again.

The funniest thing about the whole situation is that at this point, neither of us is riding him. He turned out to be a bit of a prankster who could sense my greenness (riding just over a year) and knew just how to stay a step ahead of me. By the time we got to cantering in a lesson, he was wheeling around and throwing his shoulder down to get me off. I managed to stay on, without doing the fetal crouch (after much mental rehearsal and deep breathing). But evidently he has had this reputation all along. The trainer was freaking, because he had been sold to the previous owner for this, but never did it to kids, only adults. (He seems to draw the line at age 16...the girl sharing my new horse was another reject).

Obviously, we decided Barney was not the horse for me! Now he is happily owned and ridden by an 11 year-old with medal class aspirations and they work together quite nicely. As things have worked out, as the trainer was searching out a new horse for me, she had me try a green-ish Appendix QH that was languishing in the barn since his teen owner had discovered boyfriends. Well, talk about love at first ride. He was only green in the sense that he had not been ridden in balance or collection; he didn't know much but careening around as fast as he can. But what a sweet guy, and what an athletic potential...even as new as I am at this, I knew he'd be a diamond in the rough: all the heart of a TB, a very light touch, a scopey jump for his size (15.3(?)), and the QH mind and patience, without the stubborn streak.

Six weeks later, he's a completely different fellow to ride; he's learned his balance and collection like lightning. Now we're working on bending and yielding. This is the first time I think it might be worth making the relationship permanent. He's for sale, which comes, eventually His background is that he has papers, but the previous owner acquired him for the price of his unpaid board. I take it the price was a bit of a steal, but all done completely legally and upheld by court order. The touchy bit is that the owner who forfeited will not give up his papers, and as far as I understand the AQHA rules, he cannot be re-registered without them. He's 11, has a little dryness in one of his hocks, and lacks the polish of a serious show hunter, so I'm thinking it probably doesn't matter, but, I don't know that for certain. His other rider is a 16 year-old junior (Barney reject) and the chances are good they may earn some points this summer locally (AHSA not AQHA).

Ought this to make a difference in his purchase price or will it affect long-term his resale value? I can't say I'm terribly worred about the latter, because the intention is "for keeps". Uncertainty overall about importance of registration papers is really what has me asking. Well to be honest, that, and I'm hoping to get a good deal on him for many of the reasons I've outlined above...a lot of the work that's gone into his probable value in a sale has been mine, although the potential and good early training were there, just obscured.

Do you have any advice or opinions? Thanks as always, Susan

Hi Susan! If you aren't planning to show him in breed shows, where papers would be required, I can't see that the absence of registration papers would make any difference in the world. You're talking about a gelding, so breeding isn't in the cards. If truth be told, there are a good many geldings in the world with registration papers that don't quite match their age and markings. ;-)

You should check with the AQHA about their specific rules and the possibility of getting a copy of the horse's papers - and about the fees for the various possible forms of registration.

If I understand you correctly, your horse is a registered QH, but you don't have and can't get its papers. If I understand the AQHA rules correctly, the re-registration process is restricted to horses that are known to have incorrect certificates (e.g, ones listing the wrong dam, the wrong sire, or the wrong year of birth). That wouldn't apply in your horse's case - what YOU would want to get from the AQHA would be a duplicate certificate, which can be made available to a horse's new owner under certain circumstances. Again, you'd need to consult with the AQHA, but my understanding is that if you can convince the AQHA that the ONLY reason you haven't got the horse's papers is that a previous owner refused to submit the certificate for transfer of ownership, you may request - and may even get - a duplicate certificate. I don't know what this would cost, and if you (rather than the horse's current owner) plan to go through this process, you should find that out before you make an offer for the horse. I do know that in order to qualify for a duplicate certificate, the horse's owner would need to contact the owner of the horse's dam, because part of the necessary proof would be a photo of the horse as a foal. Also necessary: current photos of the horse, along with a clear "paper trail" - bills of sale, a statement from the horse's current owner explaining that the previous owner had defaulted on board payments, lost the horse to an agister's lien, and had then refused to implement the court's judgement by providing the certificate... and STILL refuses to provide it.

Before you become embroiled in all of this, find out precisely what you'll need to provide and what the cost will be. It may simply not be worth the time and money. If it's very important to you, it may be worth it. If it's very important to the seller, it may be worth it. If you investigate and determine that it would cost X amount to get a duplicate certificate, you might suggest to the seller that you DO want it and and offer to pay the asking price PROVIDED that the certificate is obtained before you acquire the horse, or - another approach - if you're willing to do all the legwork and bear all the costs yourself, you might ask the seller to reduce the horse's asking price by that amount. OR you could just ask yourself whether the asking price would be fair for a grade gelding of the same description, and then buy the horse (or not). You'll be paying board for this horse for years to come, so... again, if your main interests are pleasure riding and competing in open (as opposed to breed) shows, the papers aren't so important. If your vet likes the horse and your instructor likes him and YOU like him, isn't that enough? And the same concepts (is he nice? is he sound? is he well-trained? is he worth the money?) will apply when and if you need to sell him to someone else. By then, he may be nicer and better-trained, you certainly hope that he'll be as sound as he is now, but as with any horse, ANYTHING can happen over time. The one thing I can guarantee is that he will still be a gelding. ;-)

So, ask yourself "If the horse had no papers anywhere and nobody knew WHAT his breeding was, would I want him based on his abilities and soundness and personality, and on his suitability to do the things that I want to do?" At the end of the day, a horse is worth just as much on any given day as someone is willing to give you, in cash, on that day. At the end of the day, it's the horse, not the papers, that you'll be riding, feeding, and paying board and vet bills for. You've done well and been sensible so far - trust your instincts and follow your own good sense in this matter.

Good luck!


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