In hopes that I can find some wonderful advice from people who have more experience dealing with situations like this.
I work in Mexico and I am a big proponent of honest sales, always asking for vet checks to be done and x-rays being a must. As well as equine insurance on any animal that comes from here. My biggest goal is for clients to be 100% happy on the purchase of horses that come from me. Horses that come from my program are always represented to the highest degree of my knowledge and no stone is ever left unturned prior to closing a deal. We have successfully exported several horses to this trainer and all have been absolutely wonderful to the point I’ve no longer have horses of my own to offer them.
Mexico is the wild west for horse shopping - theft, scams, poor horse keeping, etc. I know the place, vendors and have a network of people that I can use to get references, but always taking everything with a grain of salt.
Now I run into this add online of this registered stunning grey andalusian stallion approved for breeding, amateur safe, 16 something hands and in the high four figures. I sent it to the trainer and she liked him - throughout multiple instances I’ve mentioned that I have never worked with this seller before but he seems to be serious and I also let everyone know that I am not receiving any type of commission on either side. Just doing it because I was being nice and these gals had bought horses from me before, so it would not hurt to help them out to get their hands on another unicorn.
Now we agree on a price, set a vet check, get some xrays and videos. Seller is great about sending information quick. We draw blood for export prior to finalizing payment. All looks fine, and videos seem up to date or recent.
I always always ask for the following on PPE -> Check for signs of cribbing, colic surgery or melanomas. Both seller and vet denied the existence of melanomas… so off we go all clear to purchase. Money is sent, transport is arranged and horse is on his way to America.
Well the horse arrived yesterday to our barn in Sonora in good health, all looked well until I checked under his tail. Guess who has Melanomas???
Yup, the brand new resident has some. On the scale of melanomas 1 being little small balls the size of confetti to 10 being a huge metastasized lump that oozes… he’d probably would be in a 4.
thankfully they are not severe compared to other cases, but regardless they are still there. I called the seller to confront him about it and to which he blankly mentions that " he did not know what melanomas were but that he could reassure the horse was in excellent health". Vet report does not mention the existence of melanomas, despite me talking to the seller and the vet regarding this very important point.
Now in a few hours I will have to mention this to the buyers.
There’s no way a lawsuit would stand in Mexico, not even towards the vet, and its kind of the gamble you take when buying in the country. Not only did I invest a lot of time translating, finding haulers, coordinating transport, bloodwork, emails, invoicing etc. its been one of the most time consuming transactions ever and to have it culminate with an unhappy buyer is my biggest dread.
I was going to suggest to have the horse insured regardless, especially have him covered for colic- my vet has looked at the melanomas and has not deemed them concerning, or active, biggest one was slightly bigger than a penny. To notice them you must lift the tail up. The horse is 12 so not sure if this is relevant, but melanomas can be sort of expected at this age, or to eventually come up. Still does not justify the seller or the vet lying/omitting this … I have an eerie feeling that potentially the vet got a kick back from the seller to omit this information but at this point the horse has traveled many miles from the seller’s barn to ours. It would be extremely pricey to send him back.
The not so easier route would be to seek some for of reimbursement of the sales price through the seller - which I doubt will happen smoothly and I will most likely get blocked by the seller. In this situation what else would you do???
Final option would be to try and resell the horse and recover their loss/investment. (which is doable granted he is really nice and selling price would be between 8-10k) … I can’t shake off the bad feeling when people pull crap like this - I had been going on a great streak of easy and simple, but not everything can be smooth when meddling in the horse world.