7 September 2016

Sport horse subject of equine court case

Category: Buying a horse

The plaintiff in a recent equine dispute, the buyer of a KWPN horse, has commenced a court proceeding with the Dutch Court against the seller. The plaintiff is currently collecting evidence in order to prove that KWPN misled the purchaser in the sale of the stallion for the sum of 300,000 Euros. The procedure of hearing witness testimony will thus be focused on clarifying the circumstances surrounding both the stallion show and the KSS auction. Witness testimony will also be provided regarding the time period between the auction and delivery of the stallion.

The witnesses were primarily questioned whether or not they were aware of other offspring from the horse which suffered from stringhalt and if the effects of stringhalt can be masked through the use of Botox or ethanol alcohol.

Status of the horse upon transfer

The previous owner of the stallion submitted in his testimony that in the previous three years, during which time the stallion was in his care, the stallion showed no symptoms of bad health and further stipulated that the horse did not have an accident during this period of time. The secondary veterinarian also provided testimony, despite having only seen the stallion twice. The first time in February 2014 to obtain a “PROK certificate” and the second time for a clinical check-up and making of X-ray photographs (radiographic certificate). The veterinarian noted that the stallion was granted both certifications without additional notes. Also read: Buying a horse in the Netherlands.

Injury discovered after sale of the horse

Upon the selling and delivery of the stallion, the purchaser noticed that the stallion was having difficulties walking and sent a video to the seller of the stallion depicting this. The seller stated in testimony, “I noticed in the video that the stallion was walking abnormally with both of his hind legs and that both his legs had spring caps on them.” According to the seller, it is normal for a horse that is not used to spring caps to walk in this manner.

Expert witness examination of the KWPN horse

KWPN requested that an impartial investigation of the stallion be conducted by a veterinarian expert. The veterinarian concluded that the stallion had a spasm on its two hind legs, though more on one leg than the other. According to the expert, stringhalt is an umbrella term for a way of moving but its symptoms can appear in a number of different ways.

Traumatic injury horse is not ruled out

Through investigation of the stallion, the expert was provided with insight regarding the horse’s logbook. Within this logbook, it was stipulated that a rider had fallen off of the horse and that same day the stallion was shaved, however the shave was interrupted and continued a day later. The horse-expert further testified, stipulating, “from this, and in combination with the scratches on his body, I cannot rule out that a traumatic injury has occurred.”

The X-rays show no indication of an abnormality in the horse, therefore the expert concluded that there was a possible soft tissue injury in the neck. The expert also noted in her study that the stallion is stiff and has limited mobility in his spine. His drooping eyelid is also an indication of the expert’s conclusion that there is a neck injury, however this does not indicate that a specific trauma has occurred.

Botox is not realistic camouflage of horse injury

Virtually all of the witnesses were asked if they are familiar with the use of Botox or ethanol alcohol and its possible use in masking the symptoms of stringhalt. All of the witnesses answered no. One expert explained her previous research on the topic and in her professional opinion stipulated, “I have not yet managed to get impressive results with Botox therapy in horses with stringhalt and I do not know of anyone who has succeeding in doing so. It is further not described anywhere in the literature.” The chances that the stallion was treated for stringhalt through the use of Botox therapy are thus “not realistic”.

In the near future, more witnesses will be heard in the court case and the purchaser will be able to decide whether there is indeed a lawsuit against the seller and/or KWPN. Also read: What services Dutch equine lawyer can offer