Legally, under CA law, without any intent to permanently deprive you of the horse, it would not fall under the penal statutes, it would fall under the common law tort of conversion for a civil suit. "Conversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another." See: Farmers Ins. Exchange v. Zerin (1997),53 Cal.App.4th 445
. To prove a tort of conversion, you must prove the party (1) intentionally took possession of the horse for a significant period of time; or prevented you from having possession for a significant period of time; (2) that . . . you were harmed; and (3) that . . . the other party's conduct was a substantial factor in causing . . . your harm. The intent element does not have to be a conscious wrongdoing, but merely "an intent to exercise a dominion or control over the goods which is in fact inconsistent with the plaintiff's rights." See: Varela v. Wells Fargo Bank (1971),15 Cal.App.3d 741
This is your option here if you can prove harm.
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