A Manhattan mom is suing an upstate horse farm that she claims sold her a $175,000 pony with health problems.
Barbara Tichner-Dildabanian is seeking $325,000 after she purchased a 6-year-old gelding named Sports Talk based on advice she received from trainer Patricia Griffith at the Heritage Farm in Katonah, Westchester County.
According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Tichner-Dildabanian, 48, made the purchase so that her daughter could ride the pony “for a short time.” The plan was to then flip Sports Talk for either sale “or lease for a profit.” However a checkup discovered that Sports Talk was 'useless for competitive jumping.”
The suit states that Sports Talk had “physical defects and rotation in his feet,” and the pony was labeled a lame “investment.”
Tichner-Dildabanian’s daughter Francesca was able to ride Sports Talk to three wins at a competition in Brandywine. However, after winning some more races last August, Sports Talk was blocked from further competition after it became obvious he was suffering.
A lawyer for Heritage Farm, Peter Axelrod, claims Sports Talk didn’t have any problems until after his new owners switched trainers and brought the horse to a new stable, The New York Daily News reported.
“These are very expensive hobbies to maintain,” Axelrod said. “You’re buying an animal. There are really no guarantees. Not every horse is going to be Secretariat.”
“Of course they blamed it on my new trainer not being as good,” Tichner-Dildabanian said. “But once you saw the radiographs, the x-rays, we understood that clearly something was wrong.”
She continued: “I feel that it was the responsibility of the trainer and the agent. They came to me with this pony.”