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More Equine Contract Blunders and How to Avoid Them

When equine business operators take legal matters into their own hands, problems can occur. Here are some of them:

  • The horse seller has a sales agent that advertised the horse online and negotiated a sale to a buyer who is located out of the country. The sales agent, believing promises of the out-of-country buyer that the purchase payment was “in the mail” on the same day that the buyer’s shipper was picking up the horse,  allowed the shipper to haul away the horse. Unfortunately, the seller never sent a payment, but the horse was already out of the country before the buyer discovered the problem.

How to Avoid: In addition to insisting on a carefully worded sales agreement, the seller can insist that the buyer’s payment in full is received and clears the bank before the horse can be shipped away.

  • Many of us have heard of internet scams where the buyer sends a large over-payment and asks the seller to submit a refund to the buyer or to someone else. The problem is, the buyer’s check is fraudulent, and the seller never waits for his payment to clear the bank before issuing the partial refund. This scam hit the equine industry years ago, but the sellers trusted foreign “buyers” and lost considerable money in the process.

How to Avoid: Unless you know and trust the other party to the transaction, always insist that the buyer’s payment clears the bank before parting with the horse or item and certainly before issuing a refund.

  • A horse owner agrees to lease out her horse, but the lessee never signs the contract (which includes a release of liability). Both parties forget about the unsigned document – until the lessee is injured from the horse and threatens litigation against the owner.

How to Avoid: Make sure to use a well-worded contract that complies with the law of your state, and, of course, make sure that it is properly executed by all parties. Insist on the signed contract before the arrangement begins.

Careful attention to detail and consultation with legal counsel where appropriate, can help protect your interests in equine transactions.

Categories: Contracts

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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