Attorney at Law
AAHS Vice-President, Legal Services
[reproduced from Summer 2001 Caution:Horses, Vol. 6, No. 2]
"STATUTES, STATUTES, read all about em" "Why would I want to do that," I hear you say. Well because if you own horses, board horses, ride horses, give riding lessons, let others ride or be around your horses, you might want to know what you must do in your particular state to avail yourself of the protection of your states Equine Activity Statute or Livestock Activity Statute.
You mean they are not the same? Nope they vary from state to state and a few states still have no such statue.
Many of you who live in Texas have read part of Chapter 87 Liability for Equine Activities. You may have a sign at your barn that says:
WARNING UNDER TEXAS LAW (CHAPTER 87, CVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE), AN EQUINE PROFESSIONAL IS NOT LIABILEFOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT IN EQUINE ACTIVITES RESULTING FROM THE INHERENT RISKS OF EQUINE ACTIVITIES.
I have learned that many of the of the equine professionals, you know, the folks who make a dollar or two in the horse business, by renting stalls, hauling horses, give riding lessons, training horses, dont know that the same wording must be contained in the written contracts covering their particular function.
" The warning must be included without regard to whether the contract involves equine activities on or off the location or site of the business of the equine professional. The warning must be clearly readable."
So get your lawyer to draft or at the least review your contracts regardless of the particular activity the contract is designed to cover. Further, it is important that you, your employees, partners, and affiliates in your equine activity read your state statute.
Isnt this just a matter of using common sense? Common sense sure helps and I would never ignore the application of what some call just plain "horse sense." But reading the statute and then asking your lawyer questions about what particular clauses mean is a good start on being "legally safe" and that might translates into greater enjoyment of your horses.
If you already have contracts, great but make certain that they comply with the current status of the law in your state.
You can find the statute for your state on the AAHS website: http://www.law.utexas.edu/dawson/ Look for Equine Activity Statutes.
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