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Zooey Deschanel Sued for Breaking Horse... Now Pony Up!
 By Winniefield Park   •   29th Dec 2014   •   3,002 views   •   0 comments
Zooey Deschanel Sued

You can’t have been online the last month and not have noticed the headlines. Ingenue actress Zooey Deschanel apparently sent a leased horse back to its owner in ‘injured and unusable’ condition. The owner is now seeking compensation.

The horse in question is a bay Dutch Warmblood named Literati. In many of the stories, Literati is a stallion. Not true, the horse in question is a gelding. There is a chestnut Thoroughbred stallion named Literati that has sired eventing horses. This may be where the confusion comes from.



Deschanel is described as a ‘hard core’ equestrian. I’m not sure how everyone defines hard core. But to me, eventers and distance riders are hard core. People who ride every day, especially those who do it for a living, are hard core. People who shovel stalls and wheel wheelbarrows on a regular basis are hard core. People who take OTTBs and turn them into silk purses are hard core. Folks that pay $13,637 to lease and show a made horse for six months may be enthusiastic equestrians, but in my opinion, they’re far from hard core.

Hyperbole and sensationalizing aside, it turns out the ‘broke my horse’ part is only part of the story. Here's what I understood from reading the wording of the lawsuit. Patty Parker, Literati’s owner wanted to sell Literati and another horse named Anastasia, after her daughters left for college. She had a verbal agreement with her daughters’ coach Victoria LaCagnina to sell the horses and claims that LaCagnina used Anastasia in a way that caused her to go lame while in her care. Parker also claims that LaCagnina used the horses to give lessons and show to generate income for herself, and that she did not properly market Literati.

LaCagnina, who is also Deschanel’s coach and is included in the lawsuit, had Deschanel sign a lease/option on Literati. The lease specified how Literati could be used and, it meant the Deschanel was now responsible for the horse. Deschanel, who is said to own two other horses, returned Literati to the Parker before the lease expired. The lawsuit implies that irreversible damage was done to the horse while under Deschanel’s leasing term.

The misuse of Literati caused a serious suspensory injury from “working him in inadequate and dangerous conditions, over-using him, entering him in more events in a horse show than is reasonable for those exercising proper horse husbandry and management skills.”

From the USEF site stats, it seems that LIterati was used frequently by different riders, including Deschanel in hunter over fences classes, most of which could be called, ‘long stirrup’. It appears, from my research, that he rarely jumped higher than 2’6” and was sometimes ridden by children. He also appears to have been shown after Deschanel returned him to the owner.

While the media attention is narrowly focused on Zooey Deschanel, the coach Victoria LaCagnina may have had more responsibility for caring for the horse. We all know that horses ‘break’. We don’t know the condition of the horses before they came solely under LaCagnina care. That there were such rigid specifications as to how the horse should be used suggests that there may have been pre-existing problems. Without veterinarian’s reports, we’ll never know.

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Read more:
www.tmz.com
www.entlawdigest.com
Court Documents PDF
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