Sunday, April 17, 2011

TNJ............. The Motivating Factor in the Decision...

Part One

For me the most important aspect in considering the decision about this settlement offer was always the horse. My concerns about his situation began not all that long after I'd traded him to BG and over time they just continued to grow. With a settlement offer on the table I found myself looking back at that history to aid in my decision.

Once I'd realized how WF was really taking care of her show horse I was very sorry I had made this deal. I was not happy I had put Storm into a situation where he would not see proper work, once his initial training was accomplished, or turnout. Most of his life would be spent standing in a stall or at the end of a lunge line if he was lucky enough to even be lunged on a regular basis.

Then as things progressed. I realized that Storm probably wasn't even getting proper training but being "trained" just by kids in the barn. Even if BG or WG was riding him at all there was nothing to suggest that would be adequate for what the young horse needed . WF's show horse does well to the regional level but his initial training was not done by WF. It was done by a very competent trainer who finished the horse properly. That was not what was happening with Storm. I was very worried for him and for my business. Here I had another super star type horse that wasn't going to shine in the ring. That wasn't good for Storm or for Legs.

I'd been told that once this question arose about Storm's ownership, the horse was not being worked at all. He just stood in his stall for weeks with no exercise. GD had asked if she could work the horse in the lines and been given permission to do that. How much of that was being done, I did not know. All I knew is that GD schools horses as she has been instructed by BG and that's just not adequate enough to finish any show horse, despite what they say. The way GD's own horse goes in the ring is proof of that.

The longer this thing drug on the longer he would be in their grasp. Although MD and GD had promised me they would let me know if the horse wanted for anything, I wasn't trusting that much at this point. As things had declined with them, I didn't know what to believe. Was the horse getting exercise on a regular basis or not? Was he being wormed and getting his feet done? I had no idea. All I knew was what to expect from past history will all of these people including MD and GD. That was enough to be unsettling. I wanted that horse out of there as quickly as possible.

In the beginning Dave was not so sure he wanted the horse back which was surprising to me because it had broke Dave's heart that I'd traded the horse. Now all he could see was how many horses we have and how much work it is. In his mind the last thing he thought we needed was one more horse adding more work no matter who that horse was. We were at odds.

Obviously that didn't stop me. When I get it in my head that something is right, then right will win out every time. I don't care about hard or inconvenient. Doing what's right is much more important to me and it seemed to me the right thing was to get that horse out of there.

I knew that Dave would come around if we got the horse back so I was willing to deal with him being mad. However, it didn't take long for BG's claims to make Dave so angry, I no longer had to worry about him being mad at me. Before we ever even got into the actual lawsuit, Dave and I were firmly on the same page. Getting Storm home was number one on our list.

Before I ever got on the phone with the attorney Dave and I had discussed in length the settlement and it's elements. We'd also discussed the likelihood we probably would never see any monetary compensation from BG or WF for damages. Both of us had been adamant we would not settle if the confidentiality clause was a glorified gag order designed to protect BG and WF. Now that I knew that wasn't the case, there seemed to be only one thing left to do.

Even though the settlement offer was nothing like it should have been considering the kind of damages done, there just seemed to be no point in proceeding further. If there wasn't much possibility of collecting on those damages, continuing would only drag out the stress, the expenses, continue to take my time from the horses, and leave Storm in that untenable situation longer. It just seemed to be better for us and our horses to take the deal and get Storm home.

Once the attorney had assured me the confidentiality clause only covered the actual settlement, I told him Dave and I would take the offer so we could get Storm out of there. We briefly went over the steps to get that done and I thanked him for his help. He told me he'd tallying up what he'd done and send me a bill. To date, I have seen no bill.

There was one thing that really frustrated me about signing this agreement. They were never going to get to see my case. All the work I had done that was now sitting on my dining room table was just begging to be sent to their attorney. I wanted them to know what I had against them. I wanted them to know I had done my homework and I was fully prepared to win in court.

To be continued...................

Little Glitches....

This is Scandalous Storm at about 6 weeks of age.

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  1. They may not have seen your case, but they knew.... that's why they settled.

    Welcome home, Storm.

  2. Poor Storm. What a terrible way for a horse to live. He's lucky he had you to fight for his rights.

  3. The mark of a true horsewoman shows here , to let it rest there in favor of the horse not spending any more time in a poor situation, even knowing you could have won, settlement or not , you put the horse before your pride .I salute you . As to them never seeing your entire case? they saw enough to scare them , and I suspect have followed these entries as well , I have no doubt that they know how totally outrageous their case was and the likely end result

  4. I s o o o o feel you in those last two sentences. But I agree with Fernvalley01. I'm certain they did see enough that they realized they were trying to hold a Tazmanian Devil by the tail. . . . lol
    I do hope they have learned a valuable lesson here and will cease trying to take advantage of folks.
    You are a force to be reckoned with. I'm sure your lawyer felt the same way. He is a man of character!! Well done, Lady!!

  5. Interesting turn of events. I thought you were heading to court! Whew. Sounds like this was best for Storm.

  6. Mikael, I think you underestimate people's desire to snoop.... If I were involved in a lawsuit against someone and I knew that they posted their side of it on their blog (even after a decision was made) I would be glued to the computer screen. :P

  7. Tammy, yes, you're so right. I believe they settled because of the admissions the judge granted and also the fact those other things I requested, I would be able to get at some point too. They may not have known the facts yet but they had enough to know I was definitely building a case.

    Dom, Storm is definitely happy to be home and finally acting pretty much like his old self. Although some of his antics under saddle, I wish I was your age instead of mine. I hate that they did that to him.

    fern, thank you, I couldn't have done it any other way. My instincts were screaming at me and they were right. I suspect you are right that they've followed these posts and I'm sure they have lots of answers for what I've said but there's no point in going down that road. It would just never end and I am ready to get beyond this whole nightmare.

    dinkleberries, regardless of what they say, I believe you are right. They said uncle because of the work I did. Lessons for them, probably not likely. My lawyer is a man of character. I have great respect for him and I will always appreciate his help.

    Linda, I made it to court twice but didn't have to go to trial. I don't know how much longer that would probably have taken. Months, maybe years with a transfer to superior court. This was definitely best for Storm and me too I think. My poor stomach went through a lot.

    Becky, I'm pretty sure you're right. That's part of the reason I put it all out there, both for them to see and others to see as well.

  8. I too think they knew enough of what you had to be worried.
    I'm so glad that Storm is acting much like he used to.

  9. You did the right thing for Storm with this decision. It would kill me to know my horse wasn't being treated properly.

    In reality this settlement was probably the best you were going to get out of these two losers. Even with a trial that dragged on for months I don't think any monetary damages would have come to you. They probably didn't have the money to begin with and collecting it would have been a nightmare and just continued your relationship with them. This way they are out of your life and Storm is home where he belongs. Now you can start de-stressing and just let it all go.

    They knew you had a winning case against them and that's why they gave it up. Good for you for doing what's right for the horse. I hope eventually the people they deal with will see them for what they are and that will be another feather in your cap proving you won your case.

  10. what a gorgeous photo of storm!

  11. I don't blame you at all for taking that deal. I think many would have done the exact same thing AND done it with a big sigh of relief. It's unfortunate that you were not able to collect compensation, but what a nice feeling it must have been to have your beautiful Storm back as well as putting this terrible trial/case behind you.

    Something tells me that BG, WF and their attorney knew you had some stuff on them, otherwise they never would have offered the deal.

  12. As insulting as it was, I can see why you had to take the offer. Having a living being hanging in the balance sure makes in impact on decisions like that.

    I'm sad that my guess about his feet was correct, lack of turnout does awful things to horses.

  13. You knew it was time to end everything and bring your horse home! You know what they did, and you knew that you were in the right. I'm glad for you, that Storm is home.

  14. All that work, seems like it was a wasted effort, but knowing that you were prepared to come in guns a blazing and take no prisoners- it's no wonder they rolled over and played dead just to get you off their back. It's the genuine chickenshit approach so many use when they know full well they are not doing their work or acting like adults. Those kind will never grow up and continue on the same way they always have.

    Getting your horse back and walking away the bigger, better person in all of this- priceless. Glad to hear the horse is coming home!

  15. It is kinda a shame that you couldnt go to court about this all when they were so in the wrong, but I am in agreement with everyone else here it was the right choice for you and for Storm to be out of that situation as soon as he could.

  16. Nicole, after the fact I found out responding to those admissions I'd done would probably be expensive because the attorney would want to monitor each and every answer to try to prevent them tripping themselves up. It's possible they didn't realize what I had yet but didn't want to bother with anymore expense. Either was all my work paid off.

    I'm glad Storm is finally settling back in too.

    Arlene, watching horses I've bred not be treated right makes me want to give up breeding horses. It's heartbreaking.

    I hope the people still with them see them for who they really are too before they end up paying a bigger price than they probably already have.

    lytha, you're right, that is Storm. He was such a cute baby.

    JJ, It was a relief once the horse was home. That part's for sure.

    I suspect you are right. I don't think they'd have given up if they thought they could keep the horse.

    smazourek, yes, it does and there was probably some not so great shoeing since BG was always telling the farrier how he wanted things done. He also had soreness in his shoulder which could have affected it or could have been caused by it. Hard to know for sure.

    HOAL, thanks, I'm glad he's home too and I think that Storm is glad too. He's a much more pleasant horse than he was when he got here. Poor boy.

    CNJ, all that work is how I figured out what I needed in those admissions I got approved by the court. Looks to me like getting those was the turning point in this case so I don't think the work was wasted and I'm pretty sure my attorney didn't either. And it was totally worth it to get Storm home.

  17. What I meant was all that work, all the paperwork and effort you put into it- then not to go to court and show how full of crap they were... Kind of a let down not to be able to expose them and blow them completely out of the water.

    Definately worth it though since the horse is coming home!