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Foster Swift: Equine Law

Honors & Recognitions

Congratulations, Julie! We're proud to share that Julie Fershtman has received two prestigious awards.

On April 13, 2013, she received the American Youth Horse Council's 2013 "Distinguished Service" Award. As the award itself states, she received it "[i]n recognition of years of dedicated service to the American Youth Horse Council and tireless efforts to touch the lives of youth involved with horses." For more information about the American Youth Horse Council, please visit www.ayhc.com/.

On May 7, 2013, Julie received the 2013 "Industry Award" from the Michigan Equine Partnership for her work over the years supporting legislation to promote and protect the Michigan equine industry. For more information about the Michigan Equine Partnership, please visit www.miequine.com/.

RECENT EQUINE LAW COURTROOM VICTORY

We're pleased to share that Julie just won a case in Michigan where she defended a boarding and training stable that was sued by a visitor who was injured in the barn aisle. Julie cautions that this case might have been avoided altogether if the stable required every visitor to sign its waiver/release of liability. (Julie, interestingly, drafted that stable's release document years ago but the stable only presented it to customers.) Make sure that your release is well-worded and complies with the laws of your state.

Other Articles

"The Seller's Contract Includes an "As Is" Disclaimer – Now What?" - Desert Mirage Magazine, August 2013

"What Mare Owners Should Look for in a Typical Horse-Breeding Contracts." - America's Horse Daily, September 14, 2012

Should Exculpatory Agreements Relieve Liabilities Founded on an Equine Activity Liability Act? American Bar Association - TIPS Animal Law Committee Newsletter, Fall 2012

Win Equine law Books!

We're always on the lookout for good article and update ideas for the Equine Law Blog. Please share yours! We'll give the sender of best tip of the month a free copy of Julie Fershtman's books, EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE and MORE EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE. Click here to send your ideas. [For more info on these and other publications written by Julie Fershtman, please visit www.equinelaw.net and www.equinelaw.info or call her directly at (248) 785-4731.]

Large Step Forward for the Horse Industry

We applaud the American Horse Council (www.horsecouncil.org) for its national marketing initiative for the horse industry. The AHC joined together ten national associations and large corporate industry stakeholders to make this happen. We await its marketing plan, which will propose ways to help people become more interested in horses and equine activities, either as participants or spectators.

THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER

Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.

Children, Horses, and Liability: The Law Might Surprise You

  • A boarder brings her curious and rambunctious 4 year-old son, Henry, to the stable, but he slips away when she enters the tack room, despite her command to stay put, and wanders over to a nearby stall. He opens the stall door, allowing a yearling inside to run loose. The yearling gallops into the road, collides with a car, and motorists are injured. They sue the stable.
  • Before Sarah, 15 years old, takes a riding lesson, the instructor requires her parent to sign a liability release. Minutes later, Sarah falls off during the lesson and is injured. She sues the instructor.

Misunderstandings and myths abound when it comes to liabilities involving children. Make sure to separate fact from fiction.  Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Insurance, Liability

Nickels Here, Dimes There – Should Your Boarding Stable Impose Side Charges?

For boarding stables, making a profit can be very difficult. Stables face increasing costs each year such as the cost of hay and employment expenses. Raising rates can be especially difficult, but some stable managers have found ways to avoid increasing their standard boarding fees. How do they do it? They require their boarders to pay extra for specific services or amenities. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Contracts

Stable Rules: What’s On Your Wall?

Boarding, lesson, and training stables have one thing in common – they all have clients and visitors on the property. For the general safety of the facility, stable managers sometimes develop and post stable rules that everyone should follow

Benefits of Stable Rules

The greatest benefit of stable rules is that they promote safety and cleanliness. Stables have every reason to expect each person who enters the facility to follow them as a condition for being allowed on the property. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Contracts

Waivers/Releases of Liability – Not Just For Riders

The scenarios are all too common in the horse industry:

  • The stable’s liability release, by its terms, states only that it applies to "riders" of horses.
  • Stable management only present the stable’s release form to boarding, training, or riding customers – and nobody else.

From a risk management standpoint, these stables could protect themselves better. As our experience tells us, spectators and visitors sometimes get injured on the premises, and when they do, lawsuits can follow. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Legal Aspects of the Trial Period: Three Foreseeable Problems and Ways to Avoid Them

"Try out my horse for few weeks.  See if you get along with him." 

These were the words of a sincere, well-intentioned seller who only wanted a satisfied buyer.  Could anything possibly go wrong with this trial period arrangement?   Let’s explore three possible problems and ways to avoid them. Read More ›

Categories: Insurance, Liability, Sales/Disputes

Legal Aspects of an Exercise Rider Business

In an effort to spend time with horses, while also raising cash, some people in the horse industry develop small businesses. We have received calls from people interested in establishing an exercise riding business where they visit people’s stables, saddle up designated horses, and work the horses on tracks, trails, arenas, or fields. In many instances, exercise riders work alone and must groom and saddle each horse. Very often, the exercise rider receives little information about the horses they’re asked to work. If you are considering an exercise riding business, here are a few suggestions: Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Insurance, Liability

Release of Liability Failures – And How to Avoid Them

Your liability release might not be as strong as you think. Though courts in most states have shown a willingness to enforce releases of liability (when properly worded and signed), there is never a guarantee that all courts will accept and enforce your release. Why have releases failed? Here are examples of a few documents that failed in a legal challenge because the courts believed they were improperly drafted: Read More ›

Categories: Liability

My Leased Horse Looks Neglected – Now What?

You leased out your horse to a family whose horse-crazy teenaged daughter promised to give him the best of care. After a few months passed, you paid your horse a visit but were shocked at what you saw. The horse appeared ribby, and his hooves had not been trimmed in months. It turned out that the teenager lost interest in your horse, but her parents knew little about horses to ensure that your horse received proper care. When you demanded return of your horse, the family refused and insisted that they were entitled to keep him until the lease term ended.

What can you do? Read More ›

Categories: Contracts

What You Didn’t Know About Liability Releases

Liability releases are probably the most misunderstood documents in the horse industry. Myths and misunderstandings surround them. Let’s explore common misperceptions regarding releases and the facts. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Julie Fershtman’s Second Equine Law Court Victory in 2014

Within just four months, Julie Fershtman, a shareholder at Foster Swift, has secured two summary judgment courtroom victories in favor of her equine industry clients. The first occurred in April 2014, when she won a case for a private lesson stable that was sued for personal injuries by a visitor who was injured in a barn aisle. The latest victory occurred on July 30, 2014, when Fershtman defended a private, family-owned horse breeding farm. Read More ›

Categories: Liability