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Legal Aspects of the Roving Horse Care Giver

We occasionally receive calls from people exploring new equine businesses.  A few have expressed interest in caring for horses belonging to people who are away or on vacation.  What should they consider?  Here are a few ideas.

Risks and Problems for Equine Care Givers

Roving equine care givers face problems and risks, such as:

  • An unhappy customer might accuse received the care giver of feeding the wrong ration that caused a horse to colic and die.
  • After the care giver leaves, one or more of the horses might somehow escape and collide with vehicles on the road, killing the horses and injuring or killing motorists.
  • If the roving care giver hires helpers, and one of them is hurt, he or she might demand payment of medical bills and compensation.

Equine businesses, with careful planning, can think of possible risks and plan ahead to respond to the liabilities they could bring.  Here are some ideas:

Liability Insurance

Proper liability insurance is important.  Because of the risks involved, customers hiring the roving care givers would be wise to ask for proof of proper liability insurance.  Discuss your specific insurance needs with a knowledgeable insurance agent.


Roving equine care givers could benefit from contracts.  For example:

Basic Service Contract

A simple service contract can list basic services that will be provided, how often (such as dates and hours of service), fees, emergency contact information, details about the horses to be cared for (including unique vices or habits, special veterinary needs, allergies, preferred veterinarians, equine insurance information and emergency contact numbers), authorization to arrange emergency veterinary care, and much more.

Employment Arrangements

Is the roving care giver an independent contractor?  The contract can specify whether the worker is operating under an employment arrangement or an independent contractor arrangement.  Although there is never a guarantee that a court, or even the IRS, will accept and enforce the agreement, it could be worth the effort. Asking your lawyer can potentially save a lot of money in the future.

If you have questions, please let me know.

Categories: Insurance, 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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