Judge rules in dispute over horse trading

Maisie the horse which was at the centre of the legal action
Maisie the horse which was at the centre of the legal action

A judge has ordered a Fylde equestrianist to pay damages of more than £16,000 following a legal dispute over the sale of a horse.

Alison Metcalf of Bank Farm, Out Rawcliffe, had sold a dressage horse called Maisie to Danny Davies through a third party agent in November 2014 for £7,500.

But Mr Davies, a retired solicitor from Reigate in Surrey, claimed the circumstances surrounding the sale were misleading and when Maisie failed to live up to his expectations he took legal action.

Following a four-day hearing at Manchester County Court, Mr Davies, who had claimed damages up to £30,000, was awarded £16,597.

Recorder Khan, who heard the case, dismissed four of the issues put before him, but accepted three issues had amounted to misrepresentation.

These were that Maisie was 17.2 hands high, not 17 hands as stated in the sale; that statements relating to Maisie’s competitive achievements were “fraudulent or at least negligent”, and the horse’s results from a suitability performance test “amounted to a misrepresentation”.

The judge said in his written judgement, published last month, that “Maisie’s height, her competition record and qualifications were important considerations for Mr Davies”.

Following the case, Mr Davies said he was an amateur rider who competed in dressage events as a hobby.

He added: “The horse was marketed on behalf of Mrs Metcalf by dealers. It was falsely given a glowing description of achievement and was said to have the ability to go all the way to ‘advanced’ dressage.”

Mr Davies eventually gave Maisie away free to be a surrogate broodmare.

Mrs Metcalf, who is a parish councillor and a former prominent member of the Blackpool Landau Association, said while she accepted the judgement, Maisie had been sold “in good faith”.

She added: “Maisie was a lovely horse who had a fabulous temperament and was super to ride.

“We were hoping she would find a loving home with someone who would appreciate her talents. She was sold through agents in good faith.

“Whilst we accept the judgment, this has been a difficult and complex case in which the claimant only succeeded with a few of his main points.

“Maisie was safe, sensible and reliable to hack alone and in company and the judge accepted that.

“The claimant test rode Maisie twice and had her vetted before he bought her.

“In my opinion this is an important case for anybody selling their pet horse or pony through an agent as they need to ensure the agent informs the buyer that the sale is on the basis of a private seller.”