Question: Who is responsible when I buy a pregnant mare and something goes wrong what leads to the death of the foal? And what if I bought the mare, but the unborn embryo remains the property of the vendor? Or how about this when I only bought the embryo and the mare stays with the owner?
Answer Schelstraete: The main rule is that the owner of the horse is responsible for his animals and his animals causing any damage to property or third parties. This is called a liability. When you buy a pregnant mare, you are – unless you have agreed anything else with the seller – also automatically the owner of the foal that is still in the mare. If anything happens with mare or foal, it is for your own risk.
If you have purchased the mare but you have agreed that it is yet unborn foal remains the property of the seller, both sides can make agreements about the risks. Who would then be responsible (liable) in case the foal dies of course also depends on the cause of death. For example, if the mare in any way has caused the death of the foal or the owner of the mare has been negligent in the care for the foal, it could be argued that the owner of the mare (partly) is responsible or liable for the damage. If the foal dies without ant influence from the mare or the owner, it is obvious that the the risk is for the owner.
The situation is the same in the third case. If you only own the embryo, the cause of death and the influence of the owner and mare also have to be investigated. In such cases as described above, it is highly advisable that both parties agree about who is responsible in case of damage or death of mare and / or foal. To avoid discussions, write all agreements down on paper and have it signed by both parties.