Before you buy a horse from someone in another country or sell a horse internationally, you must have the following four items in place to help avoid disputes and headaches:
1) Written Purchase and Sale Agreement. An international sale is typically not one where a buyer can show up with a trailer, hand the seller a check, and load up the horse. In addition to the usual points typically covered in ordinary sales contracts (description of horse, price, warranties or lack thereof, pre-purchase exam conditions, et cetera), your international sales contract needs to address the logistics of how and when the horse, its papers, and the money will be delivered. Stay tuned, as I will do a post next week on the items your international sales contract should include.
2) Escrow Service. The use of an escrow service to hold sales proceeds and commissions until certain terms of your Purchase and Sale Agreement have been carried out is a huge help in avoiding disputes and confusion.
3) Written Bill of Sale. Your bill of sale, and not the registration papers or health certificate, is the instrument that transfers title to the horse. Your Purchase and Sale Agreement should make clear when the bill of sale should be delivered to the buyer (usually, it is delivered with the horse together with registration papers and health certificates after the escrow account is funded).
4) Identification of Quarantine Requirements. Identify quarantine and health certificate requirements, and find a reputable quarantine facility and shipper to handle your transaction.
The last thing anybody wants is an international lawsuit on their hands. Having the above items in place will greatly diminish the chances that you’ll ever be involved in one.