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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

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 51 posts in Contracts.

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

Cheap Horse – Expensive Problem

An online ad shows a beautiful horse for sale, and the buyer is drawn in. The ad describes the horse as a perfect show horse, unflappable trail horse, kid-friendly, easy-keeper, and free of vices. The price is low, and the buyer rushes to make the purchase. The buyer makes the purchase sight unseen and sends money to the seller, a total stranger. The buyer sought no veterinary pre-purchase examination and no drug screen. The parties had no written contract.

After the horse arrives, serious problems become apparent. The horse might show none of the characteristics that were so glowingly advertised. Registration papers might not exist. The horse might be seriously lame or ill. The horse might be downright dangerous or untrained. When the buyer complains, the seller refuses to rescind the deal.

Certainly, buyers in these situations may have options available to them for legal recourse. But most buyers will keep the horse rather than invest in legal fees.  Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Sales/Disputes

Equine Gift? Equine Lease? Stop the Guesswork

For years, we’ve received calls like these:

  • “I ‘free leased’ my horse to a friend, but now she refuses to return my horse.”
  • “A neighbor let me ‘rescue’ her horse because she could no longer take care of him. Now I want to sell him, but my neighbor says I can’t do this.”

In each situation, the parties had no written contract, and nobody was ready or able to undergo an intense and costly legal battle that might follow.

Equine transactions are ripe for a legal dispute when the parties have no written contract and a completely different understanding of the same transaction. Without a contract or agreement explaining the transaction and what the parties’ intended, these types of legal matters can become lawsuits in which the outcome is never predictable. What is a virtual guarantee is that in a court of law the dispute will never be quick, easy, or cheap to litigate.  Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Lawsuit, Sales/Disputes

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

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

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

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

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