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Lessons Learned

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*** Long post, beware ***

It’s been a rough month for me. The end result is wonderful, but the process was difficult and stressful.

About a month ago, the co-owners of Talo (a rich couple who bought him for their teenage daughter) decided that they don’t want to be owners anymore. The expenses were too much for them and they wanted to sell their share in the horse.

At first, I wasn’t thrilled of the idea of buying them out. Caring for a horse is very expensive, even when you are doing it at 50%. To make matters worse, they didn’t pay the horse’s expenses since April and weren’t really planning on reimbursing me. At this point I felt I don’t want to wait for another buyer, and I was quickly getting tired from the constant arguments and allegations over the day-to-day expenses. So, I did some calculations and decided that I can buy Talo and pay the full board for him.

We agreed on a sum and I transferred the money to their account on the very same day. Innocently (and stupidly) I assumed it included the horses tack, specifically the saddle. We also agreed to TALK about allowing their daughter to continue riding, for a fee. Two days after the money transfer, all hell broke loose, when the girl’s mother called me and accused me of cheating them and going behind their back. The reason? After buying the horse (and tack) I discussed selling the saddle with a boy in the stables, because I ordered a new one, that should be arriving in a month or so. I didn’t understand why she was angry, at first. I mean, I did BUY them out, didn’t I? Apparently, the didn’t think the deal included the tack. And, although we didn’t agree on a per-ride price, they wanted their daughter to ride the horse on her own saddle (which is at least 50% mine, anyway). The woman screamed at me for “making deals behind her back” and demanded 50% of the selling price of the saddle.

Shying away from a conflict (not really me, but that’s beside the point), I stupidly agreed that the saddle remains co-owned and then we proceeded to discuss the fee for the riders. I asked for a certain amount of money per ride, she screamed that it was too high and agreed to pay only 50% less of that sum. I tried to explain but was brutally rebuffed. Again, stupidly, I agreed with her demands in order to keep things civil.

Let the spewing begin

In the following weeks, their daughter pranced around the stable, spewing horrible lies about me and the horse, spitting out the venom that was no doubt fed to her by her parents. She told anyone with ears that I cheated them, stole money from them and lied about the horse’s expenses. She claimed the were very happy to get rid of the horse and that her parents will soon buy her a new one, but for the time being she’ll ride on my expense.

I was furious, but for the sake of completing the transaction and for the sake of my horse, decided to continue with the dubious process of signing a riding agreement with them. To begin with, though, in what seemed to be my awakening and first smart move, I insisted they sign an ownership transfer, that also states they have no other demands, complaints or requests from me, with regards to the horse or its care. It took them a while, but they signed. I then sent them a riding agreement, carefully prepped and edited by a very smart lawyer.

They dragged their feet for a week or so, all the while continuing to slander my good name and excreting despicable shit about me. I was fuming, bubbling and seething, and at one point I just had enough. The whole point of the riding agreement was for me to get a bit of money (pittance, really), in order to help me with the costs of keeping a horse. Almost too late I realized it simply wasn’t worth it. Took me long enough. The funny thing is, that in all other business matter, I never let anyone mess with me like that. I insist on having business contracts and document EVERYTHING. Here, I started out on good terms with these people, I thought I could trust them, so we didn’t have a contract, and that’s one of the reasons it all became a hot mess. I will never repeat this stupid mistake again.

So sue me. PLEASE.

Anyway, after realizing I don’t need their spare change and without further ado, I texted the mother and informed her the agreement is off the table. I didn’t even get a response. Instead, she went and whined to the stables manager. He, in turn, dared to reprimand me for being stupid, and told me I shouldn’t have angered them, because they are rich and can sue me. She claimed they sold me the horse ON THE CONDITION that I allow their daughter to ride. Another lie. I told him that they are liars, and that if they dare sue me (what the fuck for? who knows), I will be more than happy to open the books and help them settle the expense money they still owe me.

You see, I fucked up the rich people’s plan. They wanted to ditch the horse, make the stupid woman that loves him pay for everything, and keep their daughter happy by letting her continue riding him, for scraps. Well, ain’t gonna happen now. Talo is mine and I have learned my lessons – never get into a deal with people without carefully prepped documents and agreements; trust no one when it comes to money; Invest in what makes you feel great and don’t give up your dream;  And one of the most important lessons: Don’t let fear guide you – fear is the mind killer.

Talo is now my boy, and mine alone. I love having him to myself, and he feels like a different horse now, more attuned to me. I ride or visit him every day, and he is wonderful and sassy and cute. Our first competition should be in a couple of weeks. The rough month is over, I hope, and so we can continue our journey together.

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