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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

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.

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Follow us for updates regarding news, cases, disputes, and issues regarding Equine Law. @horselawyers

Liabilities Based On a Slipping Saddle

Rider rents a horse from a stable, instructor, or dude ranch. Rider falls and is hurt, allegedly due to saddle that slipped. Rider sues, alleging that the provider improperly secured the saddle on the horse.

What happens next? Who is liable? Over the years, numerous lawsuits have been brought based on equestrian injuries blamed on saddles that were allegedly defective or improperly tightened.  Read More ›

Categories: Lawsuit, Liability

Disabled Girl Fights to Keep Miniature Horse as a "Service Horse" at a City Home

Can a disabled teenager keep a miniature horse in an urban location as a “service horse”? That was the issue in an interesting lawsuit that was decided last year by a federal appellate court in Ohio.

At issue was a Blue Ash, Ohio city ordinance banning horses from residential property. Allegedly acting in response to complaints from neighbors about unsanitary conditions and offensive odors created by the horse, the city wanted residents (Anderson and her daughter) to remove a miniature horse from their property, and it brought criminal charges against Anderson. She and her daughter fought back. Read More ›

Categories: Lawsuit, Zoning & Land Use

We'd Love to Have You Become Our Next Client, But …

We'd love to be considered as your next attorney. But we also care deeply about the continued strength and viability of the equine industry and hope that you don’t need us. Legal disputes are expensive to resolve, but careful planning can either prevent them completely or narrow them considerably. We offer some general ideas to help you plan for a dispute-free year: Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Employment, Sales/Disputes

What You Were Afraid to Ask About Equine Activity Liability Acts

The nation's first Equine Activity Liability Act was enacted in 1989. Now, 47 states (all except California, Maryland, and New York) have them. All of these laws differ. With the passage of time, questions have emerged about how these laws work and what they do. Julie Fershtman, who is widely considered to be the nation's most experienced and knowledgeable lawyer regarding these laws, explained them in a webinar earlier this week for www.equestrianprofessional.com. Here are some of her remarks. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Planning Ahead With a Pet Trust

Janet is fighting a serious illness, but no medicine gives her more comfort and happiness than her horse, "Whistler." She visits the boarding stable several times a week just to brush his coat and feed him carrots. What if Janet's health takes a turn for the worst - who will take care of "Whistler"? What if the horse needs costly colic surgery while she's too ill to give directions or if she is longer here? Is there anything Janet can do now to ensure that "Whistler" remains with her family and receives proper care and attention in the years ahead?

Yes, under Michigan law it is possible for Janet to create a trust, known as a Pet Trust, for the care of her horse. If you have a horse like Janet, would you like to provide instructions for its care if you are no longer able to do so due to your death or disability? If so, by creating a Pet Trust you can, for example:  Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, News & Events

Equine Activity Liability Acts – Not Just About Horses

Equine Activity Liability Acts, now in 47 states, were originally enacted with the aim of providing limited liability for activities involving equines. For example, the statute in Washington State, which was the first enacted in the country, defines an “equine” as “a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny.” [Rev. Code Wash. Sec. 4.24.530(1)]. Over the years, these statutes have broadened to include a variety of different animals – and some might even surprise you. A sampling of states shows the range of animals they sometimes cover. For example: Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Breeding Contract Check-Up

Breeding season begins soon. Stallion managers and owners can plan ahead by reassessing and, where warranted, updating their contracts. How? Here are a few suggestions. Read More ›

Categories: Breeding, Contracts

What to Consider Before an Equine Professional Does Business on Your Property

An elderly widow lives alone on the family farm. The horse barn has been empty since the children moved out. Recently, an equine professional asked to rent the horse facility to run a boarding, training, and lesson business. Should this arrangement proceed?  Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Insurance, Liability, Zoning & Land Use

Surprise! You're an Equine Professional

You have a full-time job, or you're a student. But you also have a horse in the barn. Wouldn't it be nice to make money from the horse? What if you offered riding lessons on the weekends or did some "moonlighting" as an instructor to generate extra cash? You may think your part-time business activities are a mere hobby, but the law might say quite the opposite. Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Insurance, Liability

Lessons Learned from a Boarding Stable Payment Dispute

It's only a matter of time before a boarding stable encounters a legal dispute over payment of fees. In a recent Illinois lawsuit, both the boarder and the stable sued each other, but the stable won at the trial court level and later when the case was appealed.  Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Contracts