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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/.


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.


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.

How Do Equine Activity Liability Act Warning Requirements Differ?

Nationwide, 46 states – all but California, Maryland, Nevada and New York – have some form of an equine activity liability act. All of these laws differ, but approximately 31 require sign posting, usually, but not always, by “equine professionals.” The sign posting requirements vary considerably among the laws. Here’s a sampling of how the laws differ.


Delaware’s law, 10 Del. Code § 8140(d)(1), states that “every equine professional” shall post and maintain signs that contain a warning notice specified in the law, and the warning notice  “shall appear on the sign in red and white, with each letter to be a minimum of 1 inch in height.”


Illinois’ law, at Il. Stat. Ch. 745 §47/25(a), requires “every equine professional” to post and maintain signs that contain that state’s warning notice “in a clearly visible location on or near stables, corrals, or arenas where the equine professional conducts equine activities if the stables, corrals, or arenas are owned, managed, or controlled by the equine professional.”  The warning notice is to appear on the sign in black letters, with each letter to be a minimum of one inch in height.


Missouri’s law, at Mo. St. § 537.325 (6), states that “every equine activity sponsor” shall post and maintain signs with a warning notice specified in the law “in black letters on a white background with each letter to be a minimum of one inch in height.”


Pennsylvania’s law, Penn. Stat. § 603, provides immunity as to claims by adult equine activity participants only where signs are conspicuously posted on the premises at least three feet by two feet, in two or more locations.


W. S. A. §895.481(4)  requires “every equine professional” to post and maintain signs in a clearly visible location on or near stables, corrals or arenas owned, operated or controlled by the equine professional. The signs shall be white with black lettering, each letter a minimum of one inch in height” and contain the warning notice specified in the law.

Interestingly, except for the Pennsylvania law, none of the laws specifies exactly how many signs should be posted.  Be sure to read each equine activity liability law carefully in the states where you do business and seek legal consultation where appropriate. 

Categories: Liability

Farmington Hills
T: 248.785.4731

is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 200 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 28 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.

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