Surprise! You're an Equine Professional
You have a full-time job, or you're a student. But you also have a horse in the barn. Wouldn't it be nice to make money from the horse? What if you offered riding lessons on the weekends or did some "moonlighting" as an instructor to generate extra cash? You may think your part-time business activities are a mere hobby, but the law might say quite the opposite.
When you accept money in exchange for providing a service, such as giving riding lessons, the law may regard you as a "professional." For example, of the 47 states with an equine activity liability law (as of October 2015), several of them define "equine professional" to include people who receive “compensation” for giving riding lessons. Georgia's Equine Activity Liability Act, for example, defines an "equine professional" in this manner:
“Equine professional” means a person engaged for compensation in:
- Instructing a participant or renting to a participant an equine for the purpose of riding, driving, or being a passenger upon the equine;
- Renting equipment or tack to a participant; or
- Examining or administering medical treatment to an equine as a veterinarian.
As can be seen, although Georgia’s law defines an "equine professional" to include people who engage in certain activities, such as lessons, "for compensation," the law nowhere requires that this "compensation" must come from full-time work. Consequently, instructors can review the applicable law(s), determine whether they include contract language and/or sign posting requirements, and evaluate whether those requirements must be followed.
Part-time riding instructors might assume that they need no extra liability insurance because they only give a few riding lessons a week. This can be a serious mistake. Homeowner’s insurance policies almost always exclude coverage when someone makes a claim in connection with a “business pursuit.” Part-time business owners, such as riding instructors, can discuss with their insurance agents whether they need any of these types of coverages:
- Commercial General Liability Insurance
- Equine Professional Liability Insurance
- Incidental business endorsement coverage
All equine business operators can benefit from properly worded and signed contracts. Part-time riding instructors, for example, can require everyone of legal age who enters their premises to sign a well-worded liability release (where allowed by law). And, as noted above, determine whether an applicable state equine activity liability act impacts contract language.
This article does not constitute legal advice. When questions arise based on specific situations, direct them to a knowledgeable attorney.
Julie 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.View All Posts by Author ›
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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.
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.
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, 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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