Avoiding the “Attractive Nuisance”

Trespassing children are any horse facility’s nightmare. Children cannot read warning signs. They are capable of climbing over or crawling under fences. Can the law impose certain responsibilities on horse facilities to protect young children who trespass on your property? Yes. Most states across the country have adopted the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. Unlike the typical rule that there is generally no duty to protect trespassers, the “attractive nuisance” doctrine provides that a landowner will be liable for harm caused by artificial conditions of the land that are highly dangerous to trespassing children. (more…)

Turning a Good Boarding Contract Into a Great Contract

Could the following scenario happen to you?
You just returned from your dream vacation — a two-week Caribbean cruise. You immediately dropped off your bags at home and rushed straight for the boarding stable to see your horse. But instead of greeting you, she was nowhere to be found. Her stall was empty. The stable owner approached you with terrible news: Your horse had a very severe bout of colic the day you left, and the veterinarian recommended surgery immediately. The stable could not reach you to get your permission. With no way of knowing whether you would consent to the costly surgery, the stable owner told the vet to put down your mare. (more…)

Independent Contractor or Employee: It Pays to Know the Difference

Succeeding in the horse industry nowadays is tough. Expenses are high. Competition is fierce. Labor costs are high. Making a profit, it seems, is harder than ever. Wouldn’t it be attractive to eliminate the high costs that come with keeping employees? Many equine facilities believe they can cut these costs by simply labeling their workers “independent contractors” instead of “employees.” Does this sound easy and legal? Careful, it may be neither. (more…)

The “Nuisance” that Could Permanently Close a Horse Facility

It is a well-known fact that a single 1,000 pound horse will produce about 10 tons of manure each year. Can a nearby landowner bring a lawsuit seeking to close a horse facility or curtail its operations simply due to the smell of manure or some other reason? Yes. In bringing such a lawsuit, the party must prove that the facility was kept or maintained in a manner as to create a nuisance that improperly interfered with the use and enjoyment of his property. Nuisance lawsuits occur rather infrequently. However, the “urban sprawl” over the years has turned riding trails into residential real estate developments. Too many people, it seems, move to these areas specifically for a more rural way of life; yet, they do not like horses or understand how to maintain them. This creates the setting where nuisance lawsuits could potentially crop up. (more…)

Volunteers Enjoy New Protection

Most horse organizations depend heavily on volunteer support. Whether it is a national breed organization, local 4-H club or trail riding group, volunteers are key to the organization’s existence and success. Yet a recent Congressional study revealed that volunteerism was steadily declining. The cause? A smattering of lawsuits against volunteers and the resulting spotlight on potential legal liability scared away many existing and potential volunteers. (more…)

Stallion Syndication: A Worthwhile Structure for the High Dollar Horse!

Are you interested in owning that high-dollar breeding stallion but just can’t quite justify the initial investment? Although you own a few nice mares, do you wonder how you will secure the remaining thirty to forty additional breedings necessary to recoup costs in an average season? Do you know other business associates who have expressed an interest in the stallion but are unable to actually purchase the stud? If so, you might be a good candidate to utilize a syndication agreement. (more…)

Disclosure Requirements in a Horse Sale

Horses sell every day, but when it comes right down to it, most people involved in a horse sale are not exactly sure what facts the seller must disclose. The law creates a fine line between a seller’s duty to disclose and a seller’s right to remain silent. The general rules are summarized as follows: (more…)

Powerful Tools for Fee Collection For Trainers and Stable Owners

As an owner of training and boarding facilities, you face collection problems just like all business people. Unlike standard business debt, which remains fixed and liquidated, you face accruing maintenance costs for feeding and boarding the animal until the dispute is resolved. Your proactive use of the agister’s lien or contractual security interest gives you the leverage needed to compel prompt bill payment when necessary. (more…)

Equine Activity Liability Statutes What Do They Protect?

The 1990’s witnessed a revolution in the laws regarding liability of horsemen for equine-related injuries. As of December, 1997, 40 states have enacted equine activity liability laws. State legislatures created these laws in order to limit the liability of equine professionals and activity sponsors from participant injuries resulting from the “inherent risks” of equine activities. (more…)