It depends.

In some states the contract of a minor is void. In others it’s voidable (usually prior to maturity and perhaps for a short time afterwards). This a good reason NOT to do business with minors! :slight_smile:

If the parent signs the contract with the minor then it will be treated like any other contract and minority will be disregarded.

Still, most of what folks are saying is speculation because we don’t have the words of the contract.


In answer to your first question - yes, I have “sold” a horse to a kid with the stipulation that he not leave the property.

However, the contracts in place state that the horse is officially on a “year-to-year full lease” so I have actually retained ownership. The kid, at the request of the parents, was told she owns him. All the girls at the barn think she owns him. Contracts (written and approved by attorneys) state I own him. This is obviously a very specific arrangement and extremely unusual.


@meupatdoes has a good point, that it almost doesn’t matter what the contract says right now, because either party has the right to propose new terms and renegotiate. All of the below assumes that the OP doesn’t have actual ownership of the horse, and it’s more of a lease.

The OP (well, whichever adult signed the agreement) holds the far better hand here, because she can walk away ( following any/all termination requirements that are in the current agreement, of course, such as 30day notice). There are lots and lots of horses out there. I’m not saying this would be easy in an emotional sense, but from a negotiating standpoint, it’s a good position to be in.

In contrast, the barn/former owner is faced with two options, both bad for her. He options are to 1) let the horse be moved and lose the board income, or 2) don’t let the horse move and the OP walks away, BO still loses the board income, AND now has a new horse to feed, shoe, and care for. So it’s in the BO’s interest to agree to let the horse be moved, and through gentle, polite negotiating, you can help her realize that (in a way that lets her save face).

So it may be worth the attempt to negotiate-- but ONLY if staying at this barn is bad enough that you’re willing to give up that horse.

ETA: the above is more theoretical about the right to renegotiate, and it’s not direct advice to the OP. We don’t know the Rescuer/BO’s side of the story.

1 Like

Are you a lawyer? If not, gold star for critical thinking skills.

(If you’re not a lawyer, no star since you ought to understand bilateral obligations).


Unless said horse is nice enough or there are enough riders that are looking/barn is busy enough, that finding another onsite half lease wouldn’t be hard to do for the BO/Rescue.

1 Like

You will probably need to have your mother contact a lawyer b/c it doesn’t sound like she actually PURCHASED the horse. If the horse is not hers in the eyes of the law, and if the contract states the horse much stay, then you cannot move the horse.

But again, speak with a lawyer before you move the horse.

Many people do not understand that if they lease a horse that they are simply paying for the right to pay for total upcare of the horse plus the exclusive ability to ride said horse. This is not a lease sale where monies paid in leasing are applied to the purchase. You do not own the horse either. I have enclosed a very simple horse lease, that makes this evident. Other leases can be far more complicated which can add extra undisclosed costs to the lessee. This is a very typical lease that is promoted as try before you buy but doesn’t make the actual horse purchase any cheaper.

horse lease.pdf (90.3 KB)

1 Like

I would not be surprised if that’s the real situation here too.


I also wouldn’t be surprised if there was a “rescue” that had all kinds of wacky clauses in their “adoption agreement”. And again, just because it’s typed on a sheet of paper doesn’t make it a legally binding contract.


So anyway, OP … if your family are all on board with moving the horse …

  1. Get the adults involved and have your parents look over the contract. If there is no written contract, of course they still need to take the lead with the next steps.

  2. Have your parents go back to the other party and discuss/negotiate new terms that allow the move. If it’s all at your family’s expense and the new barn is fairly close to the old one, it seems in the barn owner’s best interest to allow the move. Also it may be time to do an outright sale. This time, whatever the new agreement, get it in writing, with signatures. This is not an unfriendly move. It protects both parties, and clarifies any future misunderstandings when people don’t remember what was said in the same way.

  3. Whatever you and your family decide you need to do, try working it out directly with the other party before contacting a lawyer. But if a satisfactory arrangement can’t be found, then your family has to decide if it is worth getting a lawyer involved. That would be a last resort.

Also - Don’t discuss new arrangements with the other party (the barn owner?) on your own. That could really mix things up! Let your parents take care of communications about the what happens with the horse.

That’s my suggestion. Good luck! :slight_smile:


OP, I think the key, is to determine if the contract or ANYTHING actually grants ownership. Once it’s YOUR HORSE, then do with him what you want.

But that’s just me, and my 2¢.

1 Like

Not a lawyer, so I’ll take the gold star :smiley:

1 Like

Yes. But the OP definitely does not own the horse. The ambiguous contract is between the mother and the barn. The OP is a minor.

It also seems the OP is not coming back to answer our questions. Perhaps whatever concerns prompted the query have resolved. It would however be nice for us all to have an update.



1 Like

OP states the BO and her Mother both signed the contract/agreement so BO has rights too…whatever they may be with no consideration. Tough lesson but an adoption with restrictions is not ownership and OP can’t do whatever she wants with the horse at any age if it was adopted with restrictions from the BO.

Dont think Mom understood very well or did but didn’t tell the minor OP it wasn’t really her horse. Sorry for the kid.


Minors can not legally sign a contract so that is a moot point. Adoption absolutely can be ownership, as with most things in life it depends upon what the contract says.


If the horse cannot leave the property in the agreement then you have an in-house-lease. A horse cannot legally be adopted for free nor can a horse be purchased for $0.00. There must be a monetary value exchanged for the horse, plus documents. You would do best to find what documents you have and talk to your mother about it.

“My family was still responsible for paying full board, vet, and farrier bills.” That’s what happens when you lease a horse…


If he’s signed over to you or your parents in some way that transfers ownership, then there’s no contract in the world that can prevent you from moving that horse wherever you please. If you can somehow get the previous owners who “gave” him to you provide some sort of change-in-ownership document and have both the previous owners and the new owner (you) sign it, then you are not held by a contract that prevents you from moving the horse off the property. Once you own the horse, in writing, signed by the previous owners, a contract like that wouldn’t hold up in court, even on a judge’s foggiest of days. If you already have that paper, fantastic! Problem already solved. If not, I wish you best of luck trying to get that paper without the previous owners catching on to what you’re trying to do. It can be done, but it must be done carefully. If you can’t get the signed paper of written agreement, then I’m sorry, you can’t even prove you own the horse.

Scribbler, of course. I guess I should have put “to your parents” in there after “grants ownership”.

From the parents’ point of view a lease may be perfect. Horse stays at a low cost barn, and when kid goes to college or gets tired of riding, the horse reverts back to the barn owners.

1 Like