Equine Law Blog

Subscribe to RSS

Get updates by email

Blog Contributors

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

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.

Showing 32 posts in Boarding.

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

What You Didn't Know About Liability Insurance

Every year you write the check to your insurance agent, fully expecting that you're covered for liabilities arising from your horse-related activities. But what if a claim or lawsuit is brought against you, and, to your surprise, you discover that you’re not covered for it?

Here are some equine liability insurance coverage surprises that people have experienced over the years. With careful planning, you can make sure that they never happen to you. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Employment, Insurance, Liability

Washington Court Dismisses Equine Injury Lawsuit against Backyard Horse Facility Owner

Private, Backyard Facility Could Qualify as an “Equine Activity Sponsor” Under Equine Activity Liability Law

As of July 20, 2015, 47 states– all but California, Maryland, and New York – have passed some form of an Equine Activity Liability Act ("EALA"). These laws sometimes share common characteristics, but all of them differ. Most follow a pattern that prevents an “equine activity sponsor,” “equine professional,” or possibly others from being sued if a “participant” who “engages in an equine activity” suffers injury, death or damage from an “inherent risk.” For example, Tennessee’s EALA, T. C. A. § 44-20-103, states:

Except as provided in § 44-20-104, an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person, which shall include a corporation or partnership, shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities. Except as provided in § 44-20-104, no participant or participant's representative shall make any claim against, maintain an action against, or recover from an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person for injury, loss, damage, or death of the participant resulting from any of the inherent risks of equine activities. 

The laws typically include a list of exceptions, many of which this blog has explained. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Lawsuit, Liability, News & Events

Michigan Stable's Release Within Its Boarding Contract Helps Secure Dismissal of Lawsuit

Imagine owning a boarding stable that had a barn fire, causing loss to some of the horses. Imagine later being sued from a disgruntled boarder whose horse perished in the fire. This happened to a Michigan stable, and the stable faced an aggressive legal challenge from the boarder. In the end, the trial court dismissed the case and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal in 2014. Why did the stable win? The liability release in its boarding contract played an important part of this result. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Contracts, Lawsuit, Liability

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

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

Julie Fershtman Scores Another Equine Law Victory

Julie Fershtman, a shareholder at Foster Swift, secured summary judgment in favor of her client, an equine boarding and riding stable, on April 2, 2014.

The plaintiff accompanied his granddaughter to her riding lesson at a private stable and watched her ride from the observation room. When the lesson ended, he entered the barn aisle to ask the riding instructor questions about saddles. The plaintiff claimed that while standing in the barn aisle, with his back to the aisle, an unknown person led a horse too close behind him that brushed against his back, causing him to lose his balance and fall down. He claimed that he sustained significant injuries as a result. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Liability

Is a Horse Really "Abandoned"?

When a horse facility takes in a horse for care and keeping, but the horse's owner fails to pay boarding fees and is nowhere to be found, is the horse "abandoned"? Surprisingly, many stables simply draw their own conclusions and then take drastic action, such as give away horses, lease them out, use them in lessons, or sell them off. Is that legal? Probably not. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding