{ Banner Image }

Problems People Encounter With Equine Contracts - And How to Avoid Them

I receive numerous calls from people in the midst of contract disputes.  Most people thought they protected themselves by using a contract, only to discover later that the contract was either silent or unclear on an important aspect of the transaction.

Let me share with you some problems people have encountered with equine industry contracts to help you avoid them.

Releases

Problems

Several years ago I was hired to try a case in Illinois, defending a riding stable whose customer was injured when the saddle slipped.  One of the issues centered on the stable’s “liability release.”  The release, despite its title, was missing the most fundamental element that lawyers call “exculpatory language”; that is the language through which the signer agrees to release the stable from liability.  Though we won the trial, the case would have been easier – or might not have been brought at all – if the release included the exculpatory language.

I also worked on a Florida case where a woman was thrown from a horse during a riding lesson and sued the stable.  The stable thought it had a liability release on file for the injured customer.  The problem was, the customer only signed the document years earlier in her capacity as parent for her son who took lessons.  Never did the release specify that she was signing for herself, individually.

Solution

Stables should make sure that their release documents (where allowed by law) comply with state law by including proper language.  For releases, some of the important language can include, among other things:

  • The exculpatory language (as required by state law; states can vary greatly here)
  • An identification of who is signing the document
  • A clear identification of who is being released from liability

Boarding Contracts

Problems

Years ago I represented a boarding stable in a lawsuit that was brought by the owner of a horse that was kicked by another horse in the pasture.  The boarder insisted that the stable agreed to give the horse individual turnout, but the stable denied this.  Nowhere did the contract specify what type of turnout the horse would receive, whether group pasture or individual paddock.

Solution

Boarding contracts can foresee and try to prevent problems in a few ways:

  • The contract can, for example, specify the basic services the stable will provide (such as the maximum ration of grain and hay that boarded horses receive as well as a schedule of fees if the boarder wants extra feed) as well as whether pasture turnout will be individual or group.  Boarders with special requests have can make sure that the contract addresses their interests in this regard.
  • Stables can make sure that their boarding contracts also include a liability release that pertains to the boarded horse (where allowed by law).

Categories: Boarding, Contracts, Sales/Disputes

Photo of Julie I. Fershtman
Shareholder

is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. She has successfully tried equine cases before juries in four states. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, four 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.

View All Posts by Author ›

Type the following characters: tango, three, november, hotel

* Indicates a required field.

Subscribe to RSS»
Get Updates By Email:

Contact Us - Julie Fershtman

"Julie Fershtman is considered by many to be the nation's leading expert on equine activity liability acts. Her 30-minute presentation for a recent educational webinar on equine activity liability acts for the American Horse Council is available for viewing. Please take a look, here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCROISSPMJs

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Wins Fourth National Award

Julie Fershtman’s latest book, Equine Law and Horse Sense, won its fourth national award on May 31, 2021. It was selected to receive a "Finalist" Medal in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. 

The 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards are presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, which is the largest International awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. Here’s a link for the complete list of 2021 winners and finalists: https://www.indiebookawards.com/winners.php?year=2021 

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Receives Third National Award

Julie Fershtman’s book, Equine Law & Horse Sense, published by the American Bar Association, has been selected to receive a 2020 NYC Big Book Award in the category of “Reference” books.

The NYC Big Book Awards draws nominations world-wide. This is the third award for Fershtman’s book since its publication last year. Here is a link for more information, and to see the list of winners: https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020winners

Information on the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/164105493X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

Equine Blog Ranked in Feedspot

Foster Swift's Equine Law Blog was ranked #8 in Feedspot.com's "15 Best Equine Law Blogs and Websites".

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

In 2022, Julie Fershtman is scheduled to be a speaker on equine liability at these conventions:

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Receives Second National Award

Julie Fershtman’s book, Equine Law & Horse Sense, published by the American Bar Association, has been selected to receive a 2020 NYC Big Book Award in the category of “Reference” books.

The NYC Big Book Awards draws nominations world-wide. This is the third award for Fershtman’s book since its publication last year. Here is a link for more information, and to see the list of winners: https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020winners

Information on the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/164105493X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

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 

Some of our Equine Law Services

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 a wide variety of equine-related 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. 

THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER

Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, US Hunter/Jumper Association Annual Meeting, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) 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 directly.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Follow us for updates regarding news, cases, disputes, and issues regarding Equine Law. @horselawyers