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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.

Showing 158 posts by Julie I. Fershtman.

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

Your Boarding Stable’s Liability Insurance Is Not Necessarily Your Horse’s Mortality Insurance

The scenario is unfortunate: A boarded horse becomes seriously injured while at the stable and must be euthanized on recommendation of the veterinarian. The loss might have resulted from a freak accident, such as a broken leg from the horse’s long-time pasture buddy who inflicted a strong kick at the wrong spot.  The demised horse was not insured with equine mortality insurance. Read More ›

Categories: Insurance

The Power of “Open Range” Laws

A small number of states have “open range” districts where land-owners are legally permitted to allow their animals to roam at large, subject to restrictions set by state or local law.

Generally, motorists in open range districts have little or no recourse if they are injured in a collision with loose livestock, but exceptions can exist. In one case from Idaho, the landowner was immune from liability in a wrongful death action when a motorcyclist collided with a loose calf along the roadway in an “open range” district and was killed. The motorcyclist’s estate sued the landowners and the animal’s owners. They argued, in their defense, that they were immune from liability because the incident occurred in an area that was designated as “open range” under Idaho law [Idaho Code § 25-2118]. The trial court agreed and dismissed the case.

The case proceeded to an appeal where the motorcyclist’s estate challenged the “open range” classification. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld dismissal of the case and found that the “the ‘fence out’ rule prevails in Idaho, and that where a herd district has not been established, cattle are customarily permitted to roam." Nationwide, most states do not have “open range” districts. Each state differs. In any vehicle/livestock collision matter, make sure to review the applicable law carefully.

Categories: Liability, Zoning & Land Use

Collecting Past-Due Board Without The Song And Dance

Boarding stable owners sometimes feel pressured by ever-increasing costs of hay, shavings, and feed, while their clients resist rate increases and sometimes fail to pay. What can a stable do? Many stable owners believe that non-paying boarders are a reality of the business, but boarding contracts can help the stable in these situations. For example:

  • The contract can allow the stable the option of raising rates by giving each customer notice of an upcoming raise, such as thirty days or more. The contract can also allow boarders the option of giving the stable notice of termination within that time so that a boarder unhappy with the increase can plan to move out before it takes effect.

Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Contracts

My Leased Horse Appears Neglected – Now What?

Equine leases can generate several kinds of legal disputes, many of which have been addressed elsewhere in this blog. One dispute involves this scenario: The lessee (a “lessee” is the party that is allowed to use the horse owned by the “lessor” for a certain period of time under certain terms and conditions) is accused of neglecting the leased horse, and the lessor wants the horse returned as a result.

These disputes can be more complicated than they seem. For example, the lessor and lessee might disagree over the central issue of whether the horse was abused or neglected. Also, sometimes, the lessor might demand to have the horse inspected by a veterinarian, but the lessee might refuse to allow this to occur. If the lessor tries to haul away the horse, the lessee might accuse the lessor of trespassing, or even theft. Legal expenses can be significant to resolve these disputes. Read More ›

Categories: Contracts

Equine Law Changes in Connecticut

Equine Law changes afoot in Connecticut! The Connecticut legislature just curbed its Supreme Court in a law that trumps Vendrella v. Astriab (the "vicious and dangerous" case) and determines that domesticated horses are not vicious or dangerous.


Categories: Insurance, Liability