Holger’s Horse Investments – Dream or Nightmare?
A Florida lawsuit accuses show jumping’s Holger Hetzel of fraud, civil theft, and professional negligence. The plaintiffs are seeking more than $1 million in damages and injunctive relief for the return of one of their horses.
Robert Goldwasser and his company Bulldog Farms, LLC are suing Hetzel, an international show jumping trainer and horse trader in the 15th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. The plaintiffs purchased multiple young horses at the defendant’s recommendation, according to the suit.
Hetzel advertises “service to rider and horses, which is competent and payable,” as the “object” of a concept as a professional expert in equestrian sport.
Hetzel entered into training and brokerage agreements with Goldwasser regarding Adrianne purchased for $450,000 (including $50,000 toward stabling, training, etc with Chris Kappler through 2013); Cheer for $1,000,000; and Companiero for $150,000. The horse Cheer was purchased from Hetzel.
Hetzel presented Goldwasser an offer for Cheer, the $1 million horse, in October 2013. “Based on defendant’s representations and recommendation that it was a good deal,” Goldwasser agreed to accept the offer of $380,000 plus the acquisition of a horse named Casero, in Germany.
After spending more than a million dollars on “investment horses” under “Hetzel’s Starter Package 2013,” Goldwasser says he was informed by members of the equestrian community that the horses he purchased were over-priced.
The suit alleges Hetzel failed to disclose the identity of Companiero’s previous owner since there was a conflict of interest. Goldwasser says he learned the horse’s prior owner was Hetzel’s friend and the person that introduced them. Companiero was registered with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) under another trainer’s name as the owner. The identity of the lessee was also allegedly misrepresented by the defendant.
Companiero was recently located by the plaintiffs and upon the horse’s return, he was allegedly lame. The horse suffers from a pre-existing suspensory ligament injury the plaintiffs were not made aware of, according to the suit.
Goldwasser says he questioned Hetzel regarding Adrianne and Casero, who were in the defendant’s possession. He learned Adrianne had been exported to Germany without his permission or knowledge. Goldwasser paid $28,000 to get Adrianne back to Wellington.
Goldwasser is seeking injunctive relief for the return of Casero. Hetzel is allegedly holding the horse in Germany. The complaint states a November 2014 vet check reveals the horse has acute lameness the front left leg.