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Certain [Non-Equine] State Laws Can Impact Your Contracts

The right contract language can help avoid disputes or reduce your expense if a dispute should arise.  Details can separate marginal contracts from effective ones. Details can also help prevent legal disputes.  One detail to consider in equine contracts is attention to certain laws that could impact the contract or the rights of the parties.

Examples of some contract provisions affected by state law are:

  • Repossession.  In an installment sale, horse sellers usually want to protect their right to repossess (take back) a horse if the buyer fails to pay.  In many states, laws address how – and if – a contract can legally allow the seller to repossess the horse without first getting approval from the proper court.
  • Interest on Money Owed.  State laws specify the highest allowable interest rate that individuals or businesses can charge.  Whether they know it or not, many people use contracts that ask for unlawfully high rates of interest.  When in doubt, your contract might include a rate of interest along with additional wording – for example:  “7% or the highest rate allowed under the law of this state, whichever is greater.”
  • Stablemen’s Lien/Agister’s Lien Laws.  An “agister’s lien” (sometimes called a stablemen’s lien) is much like a mechanic’s lien.  These liens occur when someone leaves a vehicle (in the setting of a mechanic’s lien) or a horse (in the setting of a stablemen’s lien/agister’s lien) with someone for care and keeping.  State laws govern when the keeper can sell the item to recover unpaid fees.  These laws often provide that the item cannot be removed from the garage or stable until all fees are paid in full.  The contract can affirm this law; or, it might benefit the stable to find out whether the law can be avoided through other language.
  • Sales or Use Tax.  State laws may address sales or use taxes and who must pay them.  These taxes might affect sales, breeding, or lease contracts with horses.  When in doubt, the contract can specify who should pay them.
  • Disclaimers of Warranties in Sales Contracts.  State laws (usually the state’s commercial code) often specify how a seller can disclaim (cast aside) warranties in certain sales transactions.  In the horse setting, the seller may want to disclaim a warranty of the horse’s fitness for a particular purpose.  Many states allow this, as long as the seller uses conspicuous (noticeable) language in the contract.  Some state laws provide language for the disclaimer.

Discuss these and other provisions of contracts with a knowledgeable lawyer.

Categories: Contracts, Regulatory, Sales/Disputes

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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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