30 March 2022

Buying a horse in the Netherlands

Category: Buying a horse


Horses are big business in the Netherlands. Breeding and trading horses is a major industry and the Dutch attorneys of our law firm in Amsterdam have a specialized practice in Dutch equestrian law.

Our equine lawyers have developed a reputation for quality legal service and successful results in equine law. We provide legal advice to purchasers of horses in Holland, and represent riders, owners, breeders, trainers, sponsors, blood stock agents, and farm managers. Our equine lawyers support clients in their horse businesses in Holland, assisting them with legal documentation in horse-related transactions and everything else from reviewing basic contracts involving horses to litigating complex cases before the Dutch courts. Check here for more information on buying a horse in the Netherlands

Dutch equine law explained

Our Dutch equine lawyers assist their clients with purchase and sale transactions; negotiating and implementing effective horse leases; breeders’ agreements and liens; agency agreements; assisting with the implementation and operation of thoroughbred horse-ownership and contractual matters specific to the equine community, including negotiating and enforcing covenants not to sue and enforcing writs of possession and representing horse-owners and trainers with insurance and employment issues. In a situation where speed is of the essence an injunction may be file with the Dutch Court to obtain injunctive relief at short notice. Our senior partner, equine lawyer Mark van Weeren, is very experienced in this area of law.

Exporting a horse from Holland

Especially if a horse is exported from The Netherlands, it is important to handle the legal paperwork properly and seek assistance from a Dutch attorney who is specialized in Dutch equine law.

We also represent individuals purchasing or selling a horse as well and corporate bodies or syndicates involved in horse-related transactions in The Netherlands.

Horse (and other livestock) exports are subject to many Dutch rules and regulations, as well as international transport rules. These rules are generally difficult to track down.

So, if you require advice on specific export instructions or Dutch – or European regulations, please feel free to contact our Dutch equine lawyers for export advice and legal assistance.

Veterinarian’s examination report on a horse in The Netherlands

It is vital to instruct the right Dutch veterinarian, specialized in horses, suitably qualified and having experience with the type of horse you are seeking to buy in The Netherlands. A veterinarian’s report will provide some level of guarantee about the horse, since he will be legally liable for the costs of remedying any defects that he has negligently missed. So, make sure the veterinarian has professional indemnity insurance. Any defects or negative issues on the horse discovered by the vet can be used to negotiate a reduction of the purchase price. Preferably you should accompany the vet when the inspection of the horse is carried out and you may wish to make a video of the investigation of the horse. You should insist on a written examination report from the Dutch vet in understandable language, including X-ray pictures of the horse. If you are expected to pay for the vet’s report up front, enquire about what you are going to get by way of report before you commit.

Veterinary negligence in The Netherlands

A vet or other expert is often involved in horse transactions for physical examination of the horse and advising either the owner or purchaser of the horse.

Under Dutch law, the veterinarian owes a duty of care – the normal skill and judgment that would be expected of the average or reasonably competent vet. A vet is expected to exercise a reasonable degree of care and skill in their practice. A duty of care is owed to all clients and patients and sometimes to third parties; and if that duty of care is breached – a failure to maintain the standards expected of an average or reasonably competent vet.

If you think you have a claim resulting from veterinary negligence or another negligence from an expert involved in a horse transaction under Dutch law, please contact one of our Dutch equestrian attorneys.

Types of equine law claims in The Netherlands

Sometimes a compensation may not be available for a horse accident. Other cases and circumstances can lead to a successfull claims. Examples of grounds for a claim involving horses are negligent drivers are causing spooking to horse and injuries to rider, injuries due to a seller of a horse not informing the purchaser about a horse’s temperament or deficiency, Poorly supervised horses and hacks, dog attacks on horses, defective equipment used for transportation of horses, negligent advise of expert examining a horse, inexperienced rider or third party kicked or bitten, et cetera.

Duty to examine horse and duty to inform purchaser of a horse in The Netherlands

Under Dutch equine law the purchaser of a horse has a duty to investigate the object he’s buying and the seller is under a duty to inform the purchaser of the horse on all relevant issues of the horse that is subject to a transaction.

The insurer of a horse will also require a veterinarian’s report of this nature prior to providing you with insurance cover.

Under Dutch law, a buyer of a horse in The Netherlands is protected in case a defect in the horse is discovered after the purchase within half a year.

In that case, assuming the seller did not mention the defect before purchase of the horse, the seller will have to proof that the horse did not have this defect or illness when the transaction took place.

Legal advice on buying a horse in The Netherlands

The lawyers of Blenheim have been advising horsebuyers from all over the world for many years. The purchase of a horse in The Netherlands may involve a substantial financial commitment and it’s is in your interests to minimize your risk and seek and obtain professional legal advice and veterinarian’s advice before committing to the purchase of a Dutch horse.

The issues that arise and the risks attendant on buying a horse increase proportionately with the price and breed of the horse.