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Farrier Malpractice

Generally speaking, the law imposes a duty on professionals, such as farriers, to use reasonable skill, diligence and attention as may ordinarily be expected of a careful and skillful person in the same profession.  If you believe a farrier has fallen short of this standard, you might have grounds to bring legal action against him or her for professional negligence or malpractice.

Proving Your Case

To win a case against a farrier, you must prove all of the following:

  • The farrier had a legally recognized duty to handle a professional matter in a certain way.
  • The farrier somehow departed from, or “breached,” that duty.  This can be expensive as it usually would require expert witness testimony.  In this case, that would likely mean you will need to find another farrier to explain, and testify in court, exactly what the farrier did wrong.  You might also need a qualified veterinarian to explain how the problem has affected your horse’s health now and in the future.
  • You must prove “proximate cause.”  This essentially means that you must prove the farrier’s wrongful conduct, and not some other reason, caused the horse’s demise or devaluation.
  • You must prove with reasonable certainty a sum of money or value that you have lost as a result of the malpractice (that sum is called “damages”). In animal-related cases, proving damages can be difficult and even expensive.  You might need an appraiser or industry expert to help prove your losses.

Responding to Lawsuits

If you are the farrier who has been targeted with a claim or suit, consider the following:

  • Notify your liability insurer.  Liability insurance policies exist to protect farriers against claims of negligence.  If you are so insured, promptly forward the suit or demand to your insurance company and cooperate with the company.
  • Consult with a lawyer.  Farriers who are not insured would be wise to contact a knowledgeable lawyer quickly after the demand or suit comes in.  Never assume that the matter will go away.
  • Witnesses.  Was anyone present when you attended to the horse at issue?  Who knows the condition of the horse, before and after you shoed him?  Think of who might serve as witnesses in your defense.

If you have any questions about farrier malpractice, please let me know.

Categories: 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 www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.

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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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