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Collecting money owed by horse owners

Published: Feb 26, 2021 by John Izzo

Any person who feeds or boards an animal under contract with the owner has a lien on such animal to secure payment for food and board furnished.  The contract does not need to be in writing.  This is known as an agister’s lien. 

The process to enforce the lien is straightforward.  The animal must still be in your possession when you enforce the lien.  The lienholder must make a written demand to the owner to satisfy the lien.  The lienholder can then sell the animal at a public sale to satisfy such lien.  However, before the animal is offered for sale, the lienholder must give a ten day notice of the time and place of sale in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where food or board was furnished.  The day after the publication, the lienholder must mail a copy of the public notice to the owner by registered mail at the owner’s last known address.  If you do all of this, any extra money you make at the auction must be returned to the owner.  If there is a deficiency, you can get a deficiency judgment.  However, if you don’t comply with the statute, you can still sell the horse, but won’t be entitled to a deficiency.

An agister’s lien is a good tool to collect monies due to folks who board horses for others, or folks who train horses for others.  If you have trouble collecting monies owed you for providing food and board for a horse, Graff & McGovern may be able to help.  We may even be able to help you collect your fees for professional services provided to the horse.

An agister’s lien isn’t always the right solution to your problems.  Talk to an attorney to learn about your options.  John Izzo has over fifteen years experience in handling equine law matters.  You can email him at, or contact him at 614-228-5800, extension 5.