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Published: Thursday, 8/15/2002

Horse breeder is fined for falsification

A national horse breeders' association has suspended and fined a former area breeder after deciding that she submitted false documents to get around another suspension by the association.

The finding this month by the Paso Fino Horse Association is the latest setback for Marsha Sielbeck-McCord, 35, whose controversial business practices were detailed in an article in February in The Blade.

The association suspended her for 18 months beginning Aug. 6 and fined her $1,500 for violating its rules two years ago on registering a Paso Fino, a smooth-riding Spanish horse. The association has begun investigating the breeding dates of other Paso Finos Ms. Sielbeck-McCord has registered with the group. For horse breeders, registering a horse with an accepted organization is key to boosting its value.

The complaint with the association was filed by Tressa Young of Port Clinton, a former employee who alleged that Ms. Sielbeck-McCord took $1,500 from her for a horse that was never delivered, and eventually tried to give Ms. Young the horse in question.

Ms. Sielbeck-McCord had been suspended by the group during the summer of 1998 for not paying an advertising debt. That forbid her from breeding horses during that time, or at least trying to register them with the association.

Ms. Sielbeck-McCord originally told the association the horse was born on June 3, 1999 - a time that would have traced its breeding back to the suspension period. When told she couldn't register a horse born then, she changed the birth date to Sept. 29, 1999 - blaming a clerical error.

She now contends that Ms. Young was in charge of the books at the time of the mix-up, a claim that Ms. Young denies.

Regardless, Ms. Young submitted veterinary records showing a birth date of July 11 for the horse, which is now owned by a Toledo woman.

Despite alleging Ms. Young was to blame, Ms. Sielbeck-McCord has paid Ms. Young $2,100 to settle a lawsuit filed by Ms. Young regarding the case. Ms. Young's lawsuit was among nine lawsuits filed against Ms. Sielbeck-McCord or her businesses in the past three years. Ms. Sielbeck-McCord has since moved out of a Bowling Green-area barn she rented for raising Paso Finos and a more expensive breed, Mangalarga Marchadors. She closed a related Dorr Street shop that sold upscale horse accessories and acted as a national registry for Mangalarga Marchadors.

Then, and now, Ms. Sielbeck-McCord said she has been the victim of a personal vendetta by a few people, such as Ms. Young. She also blamed The Blade article for ruining her business. “I am quite honestly sick of this entire situation,” she said. “I have moved on and I really suggest everyone else move on.”

Ms. Young said she's happy with the association's decision because “it recognizes and validates what we have been saying about Marsha all along.”



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