A tale of a horse sale gone astray

The horse running on Mary Cervantes’ farm in Hillman is a beautiful horse.
It’s a sweet horse. A very loving horse. A very mild horse that doesn’t kick. It’s a horse that gets along great with the Cervantes family and a pony the Cervantes already owned.
But with the love that the horse has brought to the Cervantes’ farm has come a lot of pain.
That’s because when Manuel and Mary Cervantes purchased the horse for $1,200 from a Milaca 4-H family, they believe they got taken advantage of.
The Cervantes found the horse on Craigslist. The owner invited the Cervantes to their Milaca area home on June 16.
Mary Cervantes claims that when the owners noticed she was deaf, their disposition changed. Mary Cervantes said she felt rushed. She rode the horse, but only briefly before the owners took the horse back and put it to pasture so the Cervantes could only see the horse from a distance.
The Cervantes were very hesitant about striking a deal, but they agreed to pay the $1,200 for the horse with a hand-shake deal and a bill of sale that stated the mare was healthy and in excellent condition. It was a deal gone bad, Mary Cervantes says.
When the Cervantes got home, they immediately noticed a large lump near the mare’s left rib. It was protruding from the side. Manuel Cervantes said it looked like a wart, but they would find it was much worse.
The veterinarian came out and said the lump was cancerous. The mare should have never been ridden because of the pain it was probably in, the vet told the Cervantes. The horse also had a big tooth about four inches in length that was causing it pain and needed to be removed.
With the tooth surgery, healing creams and the home visit, the Cervantes were in to the vet for $400. The Cervantes called the sellers, but they would not take back the horse.
“It hurt me, because I probably can’t ever ride it,” Mary Cervantes said.
The situation caused Mary Cervantes great emotional distress. Not only because the horse was sick, but because the fact that the horse had cancer hit too close to home.
Two years ago the Cervantes’ 10-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer — T-cell lymphoma, to be exact. Their son has made a good recovery, but the horse’s diagnosis brought back a lot of bad memories.
“Imagine how I feel,” Mary Cervantes said.
Now the Cervantes are considering legal action, with a case they are sure they will win if they go to court.
When I talked with Mary Cervantes I mentioned to her that she didn’t have to buy the horse if she felt pressured or if something seemed out of character with the sale.
“That’s true, I should have walked away,” Mary Cervantes said. “If it’s on me, I understand that.”
But sometimes the love of an animal trumps all logical reason, whether it’s a dog, a cat … or a horse.
The horse is lucky to have the Cervantes in its stable.

Jeff Hage is the editor of the Princeton Union-Eagle, Mille Lacs County Times, Town & Country and My Generation. He is also a member of the ECM Publishers Inc. Editorial Board. Reach him by email at [email protected] or by phone at 763-389-1222.