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Collecting Past-Due Board – The Stable’s Perspective

Stables with non-paying boarders have several options to consider.  Proceed with caution as some options are mutually exclusive, meaning that state law might prevent the stable from pursuing two or more of them at the same time.  The stable’s options, depending on the applicable state law, could include:

  • Sue The Boarder For Collection.  The stable can file a lawsuit against the boarder to collect unpaid board.  Depending on the terms of the boarding contract and the applicable state’s law, the stable might also recover interest, attorney fees, late payment fees, and court costs.  If the stable wins a judgment against the boarder, it might be legally permitted to hold a creditor’s sale of the boarded horse, under guidelines and conditions established by the state law.

    Stables take caution:  the boarder might counter-sue, claiming that the boarded horse received improper care that somehow injured the horse.
  • Pursue a Stablemen’s Lien Sale.  Most states have laws on the books that are designed to allow stables with non-paying boarders to hold lien foreclosure sales of the horse.  The stable’s rights, however, vary by state law, and the laws can be complex.  Stables are strongly cautioned to follow their laws to the letter and consult with counsel before attempting these types of sales.
  • Ask The Boarder To Leave.  If the boarder will be unable or unwilling to pay down an increasing debt, stables have the option of asking the boarder to leave, with sufficient advanced notice.  Stables considering this option might want to check with counsel first because parting with a boarded horse could, under some state laws, make it difficult, or even impossible, to enforce rights under the Stablemen’s Lien laws.

Stables and boarders would be wise to make sure that their arrangements take into account the law and to make sure their arrangements are in writing.  And stables need to be aware that improper actions could potentially put them in legal trouble.  Seek legal counsel to guide you in the process.

Categories: Boarding, Contracts

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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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