Her name was given as Delightful Dottie. She may have been a delight, but she was certainly not a riding horse.
She had been used for breeding for 17 years, a court was told.
She was sold for £100, then subsequently on-sold for nearly sevens times as much, with the assertion that she was “quiet to ride, excellent in traffic” and “warranted sound”.
The story of Delightful Dottie and several other horses had a sequel in a British Court.
The directors of Quarrystone Stud Ltd, based in Loddiswell, near Kingsbridge, were found guilty of fraud by misleading customers, after a five-day trial at Plymouth Crown Court.
Patsy Cheney, 47, and Brian William Rendle 72, denied the charges, which were brought by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service, but the jury heard how they had lied about the age and temperament of horses sold at horse sales and at their stables, and supplied a horse that did not match the one in the passport.
» Article: Don’t get scammed on internet horse deals!
They had previously pleaded guilty to an offence regarding the possession of unauthorised veterinary medicinal products.
As a result of complaints received, Trading Standards Officers visited the stables under a warrant, where they found a large quantity of horse passports.
Examination of the passports and application forms showed that on one particular application form, the description of the pony bore a striking resemblance to another pony on a different passport. Investigations found that they were one and the same.
A previous owner had the horse for 17 years under the name “Darcy Starlet”. Darcy had been kept for breeding only, not riding. The owner had sold her for £100 after she developed a breathing problem.
Subsequently, the same horse, under the new name “Delightful Dottie”, and with a new passport, was sold by Quarrystone for £670 as “quiet to ride, excellent in traffic” and “warranted sound”.
In fact, the horse proved unsuitable for the young children for whom she was bought, would not accept a bit, and still has a breathing problem.
Another horse was sold as an 11-year-old for £1600, but examination of its teeth indicated that it was considerably older, probably in excess of 20 years at the time of sale.
A third horse, sold for £2000, was supplied with a passport that simply did not match the horse.
The defendants were acquitted on charges relating to a fourth horse.
Sentencing was adjourned this week to a later date.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Trading Standards service, said: “Misleading the public about the age and history of horses in order to make a quick buck is bad enough, but misleading them with regards the temperament and riding history of an animal is downright dangerous.”
In 2007, Devon Trading Standards obtained undertakings under the Enterprise Act from Rendle and Cheney to abide by the Trade Descriptions Act and other consumer protection legislation.
However, complaints continued to be received and resulted in the criminal action.