Bonnie Erickson / Enchanted Acres Farm — Scam and cheating!
In October 2007 I purchased a weanling colt from Bonnie Erickson at Enchanted Acres Farm in Waterville, NY. His ad had been listed on Horsetopia and I contacted her from there, made an appointment, and went up to see him. He is a fabulous colt, great mover, incredible personality, and very flashy. I met both his sire and dam as they were both on-site. His sire is registered AQHA, and his dam is registered Jockey Club.
I told her that I wanted something I could show with AQHA, and asked if he could be registered. Bonnie told me that she would do that since I sounded like a great home and she’d love to see him shown and made a name for. She told me that she’d get the dam’s paperwork into AQHA for her acceptance, and then send all papers to me so I could register my colt with AQHA. Bonnie sold him to me for $50 less than the asking price so that I could use that money to pay for his registration with AQHA when the dam was approved AQHA and the papers were forwarded to me.
My colt was sold to me with a written and signed contract that he would be registered with AQHA by 11/1/07 or I could return him for a full refund. Bonnie told me verbally and via email that she had his dam’s paperwork sent to AQHA for her acceptance with them the day after the colt was shipped to me. I have at least 5 emails from Bonnie telling me that his dam’s papers were sent in, and that AQHA is backed up, and she’d let me know as soon as she got the papers back so that I could register my colt.
By late November, I was getting antsy and called AQHA myself to see if I could find out the status of the mare’s paperwork. I found out that there was no record of a Bonnie Erickson in Waterville, NY, there was no registry under her maiden name, no stallion report filed under my colt’s stallion’s name, no Thoroughbred mare registered by the dam’s name, and lastly, no pending papers or memberships for either Bonnie or the mare. I called back again on Jan. 4th and Jan. 22nd to check and be sure things hadn’t gotten to AQHA late from her, and was told the same thing – nothing was pending, and nothing was on file.
Bonnie, when asked about these responses, told me that if I wasn’t happy with the time AQHA was taking in getting the dam’s papers back, then I could bring my colt back for a refund. She assured me many times that she had sent in the papers regardless of what AQHA said , and that it was not her fault for AQHA being so behind in processing registrations. I pushed for my colt to be returned and refunded at this point in accordance with our signed contract, and was told in writing that she’d come and get him and sign a payment plan contract because she did not have the money to refund to me for the colt at this time. Quote from Bonnie’s email: “But until the next horse sells, i really don't have the money to pay you for him.”
She was supposed to come and pick the colt up over the weekend, and sign the contract, but never even showed up, did not call to cancel the pick-up, and was unreachable by phone for nearly a week. I called more than 20 times that day of his scheduled pick-up, left messages, and never got a phone call or reply. 5 days later, and after countless emails and phone calls with messages left, Bonnie picked up her phone once when I called from my work phone; a number she did not know was mine.
After this, I changed my course of action and started looking to trade my colt for something older and registered. I had always felt that I wanted something registered for showing purposes, and by this time I was really feeling like it wasn’t going to happen for my colt.
It did not take long for me to find a great fit for myself and for a woman in Kentucky , and I contacted Bonnie again about the registration of my colt so that I could be straightforward about it with the prospective buyer. Bonnie told me that AQHA would not give out any of her personal information or status, and that the papers had been sent in, it’s not her fault it’s taking so long. Quote from Bonnie’s email: “Caitlin, The AQHA is not going to give you any personal information about me, my membership etc. the point is, you knew that he was unregistered when you came to look at him. He was never advertised as being registered. Because you wanted to show aqha, i agreed to send the information in to get him registered. I do not have control over the length of time this will take.”
At this point, Bonnie told me in an email dated Jan. 10th: “And with that being said, per our written contract, if you are not satisfied with how long it is taking, bring him back and i will refund your money. Not a problem, you paid [xxx] for him, bring him back and you will get it back. That is what our contract says, that is the only other solution to this matter.” This was correct. But Bonnie had also already told me in numerous previous emails that she didn’t have the money to pay me for his refund. Above quote again from Bonnie’s email to me dated Nov. 28th: “until the next horse sells, i really don't have the money to pay you for him.”
Because both portions of the contract had been nullified since Bonnie had not even taken the steps needed towards registering the colt, nor could she pay his refund in-full upon his return, I started looking into small claims actions. I started that process by sending Bonnie a Certified Mail letter, letting her know that she had until the 12th of January, 15 days from sending the letter, to send me proof that the dam’s paperwork had been sent in for registration into AQHA as she had stated to me on numerous occasions, or, in the alternative, all of the attached AQHA paperwork (that I had compiled to make it as easy as possible for her), filled out and ready for me to send in, with the check for the total fees needed to get his dam registered. I told Bonnie that if this was not completed and returned to me, or if she did not send proof that the paperwork has indeed been sent to AQHA, I would pursue with legal action.
During the waiting period, Bonnie emailed me and asked if I want to trade my colt for another of her horses. I told her that we needed to resolve the issues with my colt’s registration before talking about other horses, and she told me that she wouldn’t be sending me any filled out paperwork because the only people getting her personal information was AQHA. Quote from Bonnie’s email: “Hi Caitlin, yes, i did send in the paperwork, it is not my fault that AQHA has not sent anything back yet. So, with that being said, i guess you will not get anything else back from me by January 12, because i am not sending any of my personal information etc to anyone other than AQHA. As soon as i get the paperwork back from them, you will get it. If the paperwork is pending, they obviously are not going to have it on file right now.”
At this point, I had found a wonderful home and trade for my colt, and proceeded with this arrangement. My colt was sold and hauled to Kentucky late January, 2 days after my final call to AQHA, who gave me the same status report – nothing filed or pending on Bonnie or dam. I traded for a mare that was brought to me in NY. My colt’s new owner was told up-front of the entire situation, and we both saw the same things: he is a diamond in the rough and extremely nice, and she did not need him registered AQHA if he couldn’t be, but she would continue to try.
I gave my colt’s new owner his registration with AAHA (American Appendix Horse Association) which I had completed myself and did not need sire or dam’s registration numbers. I also provided the new owner with all of Bonnie’s contact information. His new owner happens to work with an organization in Kentucky that enables her to look up the status of JC and AQHA reports , and again, nothing on the dam or Bonnie.
My colt’s new owner contacted Bonnie via telephone, and did not get return phone calls. She then sent an email to Bonnie telling her that she needed the paperwork to complete the colt’s registration with AQHA, and was told: “Caitlin wanted all this done, i said i would , but not at Christmas time, with 5 kids! Anyhow, as soon as i get the extra to get her papers from the JC, i will send you the information.” and “Just wanted to make sure you knew that as soon as i have the money for all the paperwork that needs to be done, it will be done.” and finally: “I know it should not be that hard, but why do you think i sold a colt that nice for so little money???, because we don't have the money. I have 5 kids, and i was hurt very badly this summer, i have had [major surgery done], with no insurance.
Needless to say, she did tell the new owner of my colt that she had not sent in any of the paperwork needed to register him, nor did she even have the paperwork to send in on the JC registered dam in her possession. Quote to new owner from Bonnie’s email: “I did contact the last owner of the mare, and they gave me permission to get her papers reissued to me. If you can do anything about the fee that is fine. Caitlin tells me you are prepared to get all the paperwork done yourself, that is great, but you do not have my permission to acquire my mares papers on your own. I will contact her last owner, and i will also contact the jockey club myself. If you want to pay the fees yourself, you can write a check out to the Jockey cub and i will forward the necessary papers from her previous owner.”
I have each and every email between Bonnie and I, and Bonnie and the new owner of the colt. I have saved them for reference and as proof to back up this complaint. I have the recorded calls with AQHA to support my complaint here against Bonnie Erickson of Enchanted Acres Farm. Fortunately, the colt I purchased from this farm was a diamond in the rough, and I am very glad I purchased him when I did and was able to have him go somewhere with someone that will give him the life he deserves. My complaint is not with the colt himself, but with the obvious untruths and inability to uphold a legal contract that was exhibited by Bonnie Erickson. If you are considering purchasing a horse from Bonnie Erickson in Waterville, NY, please consider this complaint and the facts I’ve presented before pursuing the purchase of any animal from her!