{ Banner Image }

Contracts Can Save Lives: How Boarding Contracts Can Handle Horse Emergencies

Horse Boarded in StableA boarded horse colics severely and requires emergency surgery, but the boarding stable cannot reach the owner to consent. Days earlier, the owner left for a vacation in a remote place with no phone or internet access. Despite hours of effort, the stable cannot find the horse owner. Finally, with no way of knowing whether the owner will approve costly surgery, the stable directs the veterinarian to euthanize the suffering horse.

A week later, the owner returns from vacation, only to find that her horse is gone. Then, when she submits a claim with her equine insurer, the company denies her insurance claim because the owner violated the insurance policy's condition to give the insurer timely notice of the horse's illness and death.

Although emergencies are a foreseeable part of horse ownership, the rest of this scenario could have been avoided, as this article explains.

Damage Control – Everyone Has an Interest

Boarding stables and horse owners have every incentive to protect themselves and prevent disputes through well-drafted contracts. The boarding contract presents an excellent opportunity to address how the stable will handle veterinary emergencies when the owner cannot be reached. 

Stables differ in how they want their contracts to address emergencies. For example:

  • Full authorization to the stable. Some contracts require the horse owner to give the stable full discretion to handle veterinary emergencies as the stable deems appropriate, regardless of expense. Contracts can also confirm that in doing so, the stable is acting as the owner's agent to procure the services but not to pay the fees.
  • Specified limit on expenses the stable can authorize in the owner's absence. Other boarding contracts ask owners to give a dollar limit for how much cost the stable can authorize on the owner's behalf in the event of emergencies. The problem is, expenses cannot always be estimated in emergency situations. Also, should the stable receive an estimate that exceeds the owner's limit, even by a small amount, the stable could be placed in a difficult situation. That is, even if the stable follows the contract to the letter and tells the veterinarian to put down the sick horse because the veterinary estimate exceeds the owner's limit, the horse owner might be angry at the stable, anyhow, for having the horse euthanized over an extra few hundred dollars.
  • Veterinary involvement. If the stable or owner have a preferred veterinarian, another option is for the contract to require owners to make advance arrangements with the veterinary clinic, including credit card information, so that the clinic will be ready to respond to an emergency and will know the owner's limits.  

Contact Information

In emergency situations, boarding stables and trainers need access to current, reliable contact information. Horse owners can give this information and keep it updated. Horse owners can also designate someone they know as a secondary contact person who is authorized to make emergency decisions regarding the horse if the owner cannot be reached.

Equine Insurance Information

Horse owners who are inclined to keep their equine insurance information secret are making a huge mistake. In the example at the beginning of this article, the boarding stable lost a valuable opportunity to notify the equine insurance company in the owner's absence, and the owner's claim was denied. Because equine insurance policies typically require that the company receive "immediate" notice of the insured horse’s illness or injury, owners have every incentive to give insurance information – the emergency (800) number and policy information – to their boarding stables and trainers. 

Conclusion

Contracts can be very powerful. Details in contracts can save a boarded horse's life. Details can also avoid disputes. Plan ahead and protect yourself.

This article does not constitute legal advice. When questions arise based on specific situations, direct them to a knowledgeable attorney.

Categories: Boarding, Contracts, Insurance

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: mike, foxtrot, mike, papa, romeo, sierra

* Indicates a required field.

Subscribe to RSS»
Get Updates By Email:

Fershtman’s Book Wins 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 (www.IBPPG.com), 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 Book Receives 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

Fershtman’s Book Receives Award

Julie Fershtman’s book, Equine La & 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

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. 

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.

Follow Us on Twitter!

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