Carol Rose/Aaron Ranch Horse Ownership Lawsuit Continues

cookecountyThe Cooke County Courthouse in Gainesville, TexasWhile civil lawsuits and countersuits involving Carol Rose and Aaron Ranch continue in Gainesville, Texas, a judge on Monday, April 21, ordered that 10 horses bought by Aaron Ranch at the Carol Rose Ranch Dispersal in August for more than $1 million must be turned over to their new owners soon. How soon remains up in the air.

Horses in limbo since mid-August include Sushi Boss, bought for $250,000, Shiners Miss Lena, bought for $200,000, Shiney Sparklette, bought for $190,000, Yurs N Mine and Reys A Shine, purchased for $150,000 and $140,000, respectively, plus five others – Sparkling In Town, Strawberry Hi Lights, Alotta Shiney, Shiners In Tinsel Town and Dotted Lights. As part of the judge’s original order following Monday’s court hearing, Aaron Ranch agreed to place $935,550 owed toward its purchase of the horses with the court. That money was to have remained there while pending civil lawsuits and countersuits involving Rose and Aaron Ranch continue.

The amount reflects total prices Aaron Ranch bid for those horses at Rose’s August dispersal sale, plus a $150,000 credit for another horse, Shiners Lena Doc, that it pre-purchased before the sale, but did not receive because the sale-day bid went up to $190,000. Court records reveal 38 horses were pre-purchased for more than $3 million by Aaron Ranch before Rose’s August dispersal, including highest-seller A Shiner Named Sioux. Those horses were all moved to Aaron Ranch, in Commerce, Texas, several months ago.

On Monday, Rose’s attorneys asked 235th District Court Judge Janelle Haverkamp for an extension to appeal, but were denied. The judge added that unless another court overturns her decision, the horses must be moved. As of mid-week, though, the judge had not signed her ruling, and the horses had not moved. Wednesday, attorneys for both sides met with the judge again. This time, Rose’s attorneys said she has made plans to transfer the 10 horses to Aaron Ranch – if the judge restructures her order allowing for Aaron Ranch’s $935,000 payment to go to Rose, instead of a court-administered holding fund.

Lew Stevens, an attorney for Rose, stated he filed a motion with the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth on Tuesday, but the appellate court has not yet responded because the district court order has not been signed. He confirmed another hearing considering the revised order took place Wednesday in Judge Haverkamp’s district courtroom.

According to Don Gordon, an attorney for Aaron Ranch, Judge Haverkamp indicated she would modify the originally proposed order, allowing Rose to receive the money instead of the court, so that Aaron Ranch can take possession of its horses as soon as possible.

Still at issue in the ongoing dispute involving the 10 horses is whether Rose and Aaron Ranch had a valid installment purchase agreement in place. Aaron Ranch and its attorneys claim there was a valid agreement and they offered to pay Rose part of the money in two installments. Rose and her attorneys say they never agreed to those terms. They contended Rose needed to receive all of the money before giving Aaron Ranch any of the disputed horses.

During Monday’s court hearing, Judge Haverkamp questioned recent efforts made by Rose, one of the performance horse industry’s all-time leading breeders and owners, in trying sell four of the 10 horses. Rose testified in court that she had indeed reached an agreement to sell four of the 10 to another buyer, as she thought Aaron Ranch had forfeited its rights to them. During an April 4 hearing, the judge had issued a temporary injunction preventing the horses from leaving Rose’s ranch.

“My concern is if I don’t turn possession of these horses over, Ms. Rose might try to sell them again,” the judge said during Monday’s proceedings.

A scheduling conference regarding future court hearings has been set for late July.