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Protect Your Right to Keep Horses in Your Community

Your property stables horses, but your community seems anything but supportive. In fact, you’ve heard that the local government might be exploring possible zoning changes that might make it harder to stable horses in the community. Can you try to maintain things as they are without a costly lawsuit? Yes.

Get Active in Your Community

Actively participate in community groups that sponsor worthwhile events. The goal is to meet others and show them that you're a reasonable, likeable person who shares their concerns for keeping the community beautiful and maximizing property values. You might even meet current or future members of your City Council, Planning Commission, or Zoning Board of Appeals.

Keep Your Horse Facility as Neat and Clean as Possible

Opponents of "horse-favorable" zoning seek examples of why horses detract from property values. Give them no examples. Keep your horse barns and pastures in good repair, relocate manure piles away from view, and add flowers.

Keep Your Non-Horse Neighbors Happy

Consider making your neighbors comfortable with your horse facility and possible changes. Consider sharing with them your plans to install fencing or structures near property borders, even if you have no legal obligation to do so. Try to understand any concerns they voice. In my experience, I relocated part of my new pasture fencing after negotiation with a neighbor. The loss of pasture space was a worthwhile long-term investment. My neighbors were happy, they enjoyed my horses, and they have never forgotten the fact that I accommodated them.

Be Responsible

If horse facilities are not common in your community, remember that you're in the public eye every minute. Respect others' property and privacy. Don't trample or cut across someone's property without permission. Set an example for other horse owners in your area.

Organize (Even When All is Well)

In any battle involving new zoning ordinances, there can be strength in numbers. Seek out your allies, and share information on local government candidates known to have "anti-horse" leanings.

Land use disputes can be complicated. Contact a knowledgeable lawyer for help.

Categories: Regulatory, Zoning & Land Use

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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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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