There are a number of things that a good horse Mom (and Dad) need to be sure they have, to make sure that their horses (same goes for cows, and other animals) are kept safe. This was a hard lesson that I learned the hard way, and will remember for the rest of my life.
First things first, get EVERYTHING in writing. That means your bill of sale for your horse(s) is a MUST. You need to keep all paperwork that was given to you in regards to the horse. This could be an adoption agreement, contract of sale, lease agreement, or a simple bill of sale. This is of UTMOST importance.
If you are boarding your horses, get a receipt each and EVERY time you make a payment. Get a written boarding contract. This outlines everything IN WRITING what is expected of you, how much the boarding fee is, what the boarding fee covers, as well as what you can expect from your boarding facility.
Second, your horses Coggins MUST be done. Not only will this keep you legal, but it also makes sure that your horses are free of equine infectious diseases. In the state of Florida, and in many others as well, the Coggins must be current to do ANYTHING with the horse. This includes riding on trails, parades, shows, rodeos, and yes.. selling them too. The other reason that Coggins can be a life saver is that your Coggins can help to prove ownership if you are lacking other identifying papers.
The third most important thing would be to keep ALL receipts. When you purchase feed and hay, pay for a farrier, have the vet come out.. KEEP those receipts. This will alleviate any concerns, legal or otherwise, that YOU are the one paying for care for and feeding your animals.
As much as you want to believe that there is good in all people, please know that there are just as many that don’t have your animals best interests at heart. For many, they simply see dollar signs. You have to be the proactive one and protect yourself and your animals. You are the only voice they have, so make sure that your voice can be heard and represented legally with documentation.