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Should You Let the Boarding Stable Use Your Horse in Lessons?

Are you considering allowing a boarding stable to use your horse in its riding lesson program?  Take caution.  Horse owners face risks in these arrangements, including:

  • If someone is injured while riding or handling the horse in a lesson, the owner is at risk of being sued.
  • Even if the boarding stable and the riding instructor use releases of liability (where allowed by law), chances are good that the documents will not include language protecting the horse owner.
  • Even if the stable and the riding instructor have policies of liability insurance, these policies may not protect the horse owner.

Tips for Avoiding Liability

When their privately-owned horses are used in a stable’s lesson program, horse owners can consider the following to reduce their risks of liability:

Buy Your Own Liability Insurance. 

Consider purchasing a policy of Personal Horse Owner's Liability Insurance (some insurers may call it “Private Horse Owner’s Liability Insurance”).  This insurance protects the horse owner (and possibly others the owner may designate, as well) in the event that someone else is hurt while riding or near the horse.  Of course, in the application process you would notify the insurer that the horse is being used in a stable’s lesson program.

Get Included in the Stable’s Liability Insurance. 

Consider asking the stable and equine professional to name you, the horse owner, as an “additional named insured” in their commercial and/or professional liability insurance policies.  Make sure their coverage was issued by a reputable insurance company, with policy limits acceptable to you, and that the policy will specifically cover the activities in which your horse will be used.  (Also, be careful – those listed as additional insureds under a policy usually cannot make claims of their own against the policy; discuss this with the insurance agent.)

Insist that the Stable and Equine Professional Use an Acceptable Liability Release Document (Where Allowed by Law) that Specifically Protects You. 

Ask the stable and instructor to specifically include you in the section of the release where the signer agrees not to sue certain listed people and entities.

Abandon the Arrangement. 

Horse owners who are unwilling or unable to follow any of these suggestions are taking their chances.  For them, the best option might be to decline the arrangement.

Categories: Boarding, Liability

Photo of Julie I. Fershtman

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 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit and, and

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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.

Julie Fershtman’s Recent and Upcoming Equine Law Speaking Engagements Include:

National Conference on Equine Law in Louisville, Kentucky on April 29, 2020. Topic will be on Waivers/Releases of Liability Involving Minor Participants. 

U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado on December 10, 2019. Topic will be on Equine Liability. 

IRMI Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference (“AgriCon”) in Sacramento, CA (April 2019), and Richmond, VA (June 2019) and in Des Moines, IA (September 2019), on topics of “Equine Activity Liability Acts” and “Equine Mortality Insurance Disputes.”

National Conference on Equine Law in May 2019 in Lexington, KY, on the topic of “Equine Activity Liability Act Updates” and liabilities involving hosting of equine clinics. 

Agricultural Claims Conference in Kansas City, MO, in March 2019 on topics of “Loose Livestock Liabilities.”

2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on “Equine Mortality Coverage and Disputes.”

November 2018, American Horse Council webinar on “Equine Liability.”

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received 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. 


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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