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Legal advice & support

The BHS 24/7 Legal Helpline service is included in BHS Gold membership (Adult, Junior, Family), BHS Friend membership, BHS Supporter Membership and BHS Life and Founder membership.

  • Last reviewed: 21st July 2022
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About the helpline

Operated by Epoq Legal*, the helpline team is made up of experienced legal professionals who provide expert advice in a sympathetic and jargon-free way. They have wide experience in dealing with equestrian issues that members might commonly face in relation to buying, selling or loaning your horse or pony, and contractual/property disputes that may arise as a consequence of stabling/livery.

The Epoq Helpline doesn’t just handle equestrian issues. They can also help with legal matters of a more personal nature, including:

  • Advice on wills and powers of attorney
  • Inheritance tax and trusts
  • Relationship breakdown and divorce
  • Consumer rights issues, such as neighbour disputes and claims for compensation

Epoq’s aim is to make the law and legal processes easy for customers to understand.

Buying and selling a horse

Purchase disputes are the most common legal helpline issue among BHS members. The helpline team are experienced in helping BHS members understand their legal rights when buying from either a dealer or a private seller, and the steps that can be taken to resolve any problems.  

Horse Sale Agreement 

Selling a horse or pony can be a daunting process and it’s easy to overlook important details.  Unfortunately, misunderstandings frequently occur between buyers and sellers, so a legally compliant contract is vital to outline the specific terms of the sale and give both parties peace of mind. 

The BHS Legal helpline offers a ‘Sale Agreement’ service to help you draw up a legally compliant contract for the sale of your horse, that covers all the essential points and will help protect your interests in the event of a dispute. The service is quick and easy to use – just contact the BHS legal helpline for more details.

Case Study

Anna bought a pony described as ‘bomb proof’ from a trader for her daughter. The trader specifically said that he would make a great ‘first pony’ for a child and was very happy being boxed. The pony passed the vetting and although her daughter did not ride the pony prior to purchase, Anna did see a video of him being ridden and all seemed normal. However, the pony was so difficult to load at collection that he had to be sedated to travel. The seller was not present and the person at the yard could not explain the behaviour. The pony’s behaviour continued to deteriorate; he bucked, reared, and spooked at the slightest thing and was generally unsettled. After three weeks there was no change, and it was clear to Anna he was not safe for a child to ride and completely unsuitable as a first pony - but the trader wasn’t taking her calls.  

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies to buying horses from a trader. Under this Act, goods must be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. The BHS Legal Helpline explained Anna’s rights to her and helped her word a letter explaining the issues and demanding a full refund. The trader realised from the letter that Anna was asserting her statutory right to a refund, repaid her, and arranged for the return of the pony. 

Had Anna purchased the pony from a private seller the Consumer Rights Act would not have applied. However, whilst she would have had reduced rights, she may still have some protection under the law of misrepresentation.  

Purchase disputes are unfortunately common and using an appropriate contract can help protect your interests. 

Members in Ireland

Epoq will refer your calls to specialist legal advisors in your area to ensure that you get the very best service. 

*Epoq are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 645296). EPOQ are not insured or set up to advise on legal issues in Isle of Man or Channel Islands* 

Complaints process

In the rare instance that you may need to complain about the service please contact membership@bhs.org.uk or call us on 02476 840506. 

Become a BHS member

You can help us continue our vital work to build a better life for horses, riders and all who care for them by becoming a BHS member. We offer a range of different membership options that include a variety of amazing membership benefits to help you enjoy your life with horses.

Join us today
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Get in touch with us

To speak to our team about membership, please call us on 02476 840506, email us at membership@bhs.org.uk or complete our online enquiry form and one of our team will get back to you shortly. Opening times are 8:35am-5pm from Monday to Thursday and 8:35am-3pm on Friday.

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