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I’m Not a Boarding Stable, BUT …

A backyard horse owner named Jane boards a few horses during the winter. Jane’s facility has box stalls and an indoor arena, making it desirable during the snowy winter months where Jane lives. Jane doesn’t view her activities as a business. She views herself as earning some extra money and helping friends.

What could go wrong? Plenty. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Contracts, Insurance, Liability

Colorado Appellate Court Strikes Down Recreational Liability Release: Ruling Could Impact Stable/Equine Professional Releases

Individuals and businesses in the horse industry rely on waivers/releases as part of their risk management programs. We’ve written for years that most states nationwide have shown a willingness to enforce these documents – if they are properly worded and signed. Colorado is among those states. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

New Jersey Court Dismisses Lawsuit against Stable Brought by Injured Visitor

Injured Child Visiting Stable with Family Was Still a “Participant” Under Equine Activity Liability Law

As of January 30, 2017, 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.” Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Right of First Refusal Clauses: Are They Worth the Paper They’re Written On?

What is a Right of First Refusal?

Equine-related contracts sometimes include a “right of first refusal” clause that restricts how a horse can be re-sold. Through these clauses, a horse buyer agrees to give the seller an opportunity to buy back the horse later under certain specified conditions. For example, these clauses sometimes provide that if the buyer (after becoming the horse owner) later receives a legitimate offer to buy the horse and is inclined to sell, the former owner must first receive the opportunity to match that purchase offer and pay within a certain time frame. Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Sales/Disputes

What You Wish You Considered for Your Equine Lease

Equine lease transactions have become increasingly popular. Surprisingly, some people continue to lease horses merely on a handshake or use very short lease agreements, only to encounter costly problems later. Over the years, several people who have contacted us with equine lease disputes wished their contract had been more detailed. Detailed contracts can help avoid disputes, which can save very substantial amounts of money.

Recognizing that equine lease transactions differ, here are a few items to consider: Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Insurance

Unbounded Risk in Open Range Districts

Driving along a highway at night, motorists don’t expect to see herds of cattle or horses. In designated “open range” districts, however, these animals could potentially cross the road in the day or night. So what happens when motorists collide with horses or livestock in open range districts?

Open Range Laws

Nationwide, most states are NOT open range states, and horse owners are required to reasonably secure them in barns and pastures to keep them off of roadways. A few states, that include (but are not limited to) Nevada, Montana, Texas, and Idaho, allow livestock owners to allow them to roam unfenced, with some restrictions. For example, Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 568.355 defines “open range” as “all unenclosed land outside of cities and towns upon which cattle, sheep or other domestic animals by custom, license, lease or permit are grazed or permitted to roam.” This state’s law, Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 568.360, addresses liabilities of animal owners: Read More ›

Categories: Liability, Zoning & Land Use

What Stables and Owners Should Know About Resolving Past-Due Board Disputes

If you’re a horse boarding stable, it’s a matter of time until you encounter a customer who falls behind on board payments. Here are some ideas for owners and stables. Read More ›

“Setbacks” And Equine Fencing

“Jane,” a horse owner found her dream property. The house was just her size. Never before was a horse stabled on the property, but there was a storage barn that, Jane thought, could easily be converted into a horse barn, and the surrounding land could be fenced for pasture. Jane bought the property. Soon after, she built a stall in the barn, set up fencing, and moved in her horse.

Within a few weeks, however, a serious problem occurred. Jane received a notice from the city ordering her to remove her pasture fencing because it violated the local zoning ordinance. That ordinance required fences to be set back a specific distance from the property line. Adding to the problem, once Jane read the ordinance, she discovered that compliance with it would reduce her pasture to the size of a dog run. Her plans for a stable on her property were doomed. Read More ›

Categories: Zoning & Land Use

Communication Can Save Lives and Avoid Horse Boarding Disputes

Never did the stable owner expect to be sued. A horse in his care became injured in the pasture, with a large wound, but the stable owner thought he had it under control. He dressed the wound, gave the horse a penicillin shot using old medication in the barn refrigerator, left the horse in the stall for a few days to rest and recover, and gave the horse only quick checks in the days that followed. There was no need to call a veterinarian, he thought. Several days later, however, the horse’s condition worsened to a very serious point, and by the time a veterinarian was summoned, the horse had to be put down. It turned out that the cut was more severe than the stable owner thought, and the penicillin was unsuitable for the horse. At the very end, a surprised horse owner received the call that the horse was gone.  Read More ›

Categories: Boarding

Can You Release Equine Activity Liability Act Liabilities? The Answer May Surprise You

Courts in most states have shown a willingness to enforce liability waivers/releases – as long as the court was convinced that the documents were properly worded and signed. In the 47 states with Equine Activity Liability Acts (all states except for California, Maryland, and New York), can a pre-incident waiver/release, signed by the claimant, waive a claim based on the statute?

Over the years, courts in several states have explored this question. Most courts have answered “YES.” Read More ›

Categories: Liability

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Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has recieved these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:

"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee

"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council

"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership

"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council

"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association

"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association 

What our Equine Law Services can Provide

Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.

Litigating disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).

Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals,  businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.

Representing and advising insurers on  coverage and policy language as well as litigation;

Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.

Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.

Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners. 

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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