Holland is a small country but big in horse cases. Also in the equestrian Holland plays a leading role. Many horses are sold abroad. It is therefore not surprising that many sales disputes arise in Holland. Many foreign buyers have to deal with Dutch equine law. Although there is no specific equine law in the Code, even next to specialized equine lawyers, more judges are specialized in equine law cases as well.

Recentely I found out that a cousin from Coby van Baalen is a Judge in civil procedures as well and that he also has affinity with horses. This is a very pleasant fact, knowing that a judge also understands the jargon. Most cases concern the horse sale disputes. But what is that exactly? A horse is tried, tested, examined and the test results are often also seen by a local veterinarian. At first sight there is almost nothing to worry about. The reality is quite different. In practice the buyer does not know what happened with the horse before buying it. The horse can be prepared. That is not easy to find out. A difficult horse can be made tired and a slightly lame horse can be hold in the stable for a few days. All to mask problems. Anyway, there is a vet check. But what does this inspection mean? The clinical examination is a snapshot. That can be different the other day. And on the assessment of X rays I can write a book full of pages. And further more then half of the horse will be forgotten like an examination of the neck, the shoulders and the loins. Besides the vet check doesn’t include an examiniation under sadle and that is most striking, while the horse just as a riding horse is purchased. In short it can happen easily that the horse shows veterinary problems after the purchase, such that it is no longer appropriate. I mean not suitable as a riding horse anymore. And then a lengthy court case can arise.

In Holland, the consumer is protected from the professional horse trader. For example, if a horse is observed ataxia within six months after buying, while this was not visible during the sales, there is a statutory presumptive evidence, and the seller must prove that the horse did not ataxia suffering before the sale and that is obviously very difficult because ataxia can be a progressive process. And what about tendon injuries? These are not visible on an X-ray. Old tendon injuries can flare up again during intensive use. The misery is incalculable. In practice, I often notice that the defects are discovered after delivery within a short period of time. The buyer feels cheated and that is not always correct. A horse is a living entity and a vendor could not give lifetime warranty.

The Faculty in Utrecht, one of the most prominent veterinary universities in Europe, has already determined that a horse is susceptible to change of feed, care and training. During that period, previously hidden defects appeared visible. Stephan Wensing


Weda en Wensing Law Firm
Parallelweg 45
7741 KA Coevorden
The Netherlands

Phone: 0031 - 524 - 76 90 21
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Mail: info@europeanhorselawyers.com

Weda en Wensing advocaten, a professional Dutch law corporation, is owned by well known Stephan Wensing, a Dutch attorney whose practice is only focused on equine disputes. Stephan Wensing has been an equine attorney since 2002.

As a horse owner, trainer and judge himself he combines his two passions, horses and law. Stephan Wensing recognized the need for an attorney who was knowledgeable in legal issues affecting equestrians. Stephan Wensing offers a full-service litigation firm that specializes in equine-related transactions and dispute resolution throughout Europe.