University of Vermont AAHS

Equine Law Course to be Taught
at University of Texas Law School

Jan Dawson
Attorney at Law
President, AAHS
Robert O. Dawson
Professor of Law
University of Texas
School of Law
Secretary/Treasurer AAHS

[reproduced from Summer 2001 Caution:Horses, Vol. 6, No. 2]


In the Spring Semester of 2002, the University of Texas School of Law will offer a course in Equine Law for the first time. It will be a two credit elective course and will be taught jointly by Jan and Bob Dawson.

Since there is no course book for Equine Law suitable for use in a law school, we have written one. It is titled Cases and Materials on the Horse and the Law.

There are four phases to a project of this sort: first, producing a rough draft of the book; second, refining the rough draft by more closely editing the appellate case opinions and writing extensive explanatory introductory and post-case note materials; third obtaining evaluations from teaching experience with the book and from knowledgeable outside reviewers; and fourth, revising the materials for publication in light of that experience and those evaluations.

Our goal is to produce a course book that is suitable for use in law schools and in undergraduate and graduate equine studies programs. To do so, we will write material for law students about horse behavior and horse industry customs and terminology. We will also write introductory material for equine studies students about the legal process. We believe that both groups of students will benefit from the dual purpose. Equine studies students will benefit from reviewing familiar concepts of horse behavior and industry customs, while law students will benefit from reviewing basic concepts about the legal process.

Phase one is finished. The book is currently in a completed, but rough draft form of about 750 pages. Like most law school course books, it consists of appellate opinions and statutes from all over the United States and of introductory and note materials written by the authors.

The second phase is for us is to go through the book editing the appellate opinions to eliminate extraneous and distracting material, writing more extensive introductory comments and expanding upon the Notes and Questions segment that follows each principal case opinion. We anticipate having that phase completed by November 2001.

At that time, we will go into phase three and distribute copies of the book to persons knowledgeable in either law or equine studies for their evaluations, possible use in the classroom, and comments.

Once we have received comments from evaluators and have taught with the materials, we will go into the fourth phase and revise the materials again for submission to a law book publisher.

If you believe you could contribute to the evaluation of the book manuscript (phase three), please let us know so we can consider providing the manuscript for your evaluation and comments. Just email us at Depending upon the number of requests we receive, we may or may not be able to send copies of the manuscript to all persons requesting one.

What follows is a tentative summary of contents, subject to change as we progress through the remaining phases.


Summary of Contents

Chapter 1. The Horse in Modern American Society

A. The American Horse Industry
B. The Nature of the Horse
C. The Changing Relationship of Horses to Humans

Chapter 2. Equine Activity Statutes

A. What Is an Inherent Risk?
B. What Is an Equine Activity?
C. What Class of Persons Is Protected?

Chapter 3. Liability Releases

A. Issues of Validity and Construction
B. Releases for Children

Chapter 4 Instructor’s Liability

A. The Duty to Provide a Safe Lesson
B. Assumption of Risk
C. Continuing Duty to Provide a Safe Lesson
D. Licensure

Chapter 5. Land Occupier’s Liabilities

A. Trespassers
B. Social Guests
C. Business Invitees
D. Boarded Horses
E. Children

Chapter 6. Confinement of Horses

A. The Duty to Confine
B. Fencing Laws
C. Open Range Laws
D. Third-Party Liability
E. Criminal Liability

Chapter 7. Mounted Accidents

A. Social Guests
B. Environmental Hazards
C. Abnormally Dangerous Propensities
D. Guided Trail Rides
E. Criminal Liability

Chapter 8. Ground Accidents

A. Grooming Accidents
B. Loading Accidents
C. Kicking and Biting
D. Injuries to Professionals Servicing Horses

Chapter 9. Land-use Issues

A. Regulating Horse Density
B. Regulating Horse-related Structures
C. Suing the Regulators
D. Nuisance Lawsuits

Chapter 10. Transfer of Ownership of Horses

A. Sale by Private Treaty
B. Gifts
C. Sale by Public Auction
D. Hauling Horses

Chapter 11. Contracts for Boarding and Service of Horses

A. Contracts for Boarding Horses
B. Contracts for Services to Horses

Chapter 12. Insurance

A. Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage
B. Farm and Ranch Insurance Coverage
C. Automobile Insurance Coverage
D. Business Liability Coverage
E. Equine Mortality and Major Medical Coverage

Chapter 13. Employment

A. Injuries by Employees
B. Injuries to Employees: Insurance Coverage
C. Injuries to Employees: Worker’s Compensation
D. Injuries to Employees: OSHA Regulations
E. Unemployment Compensation
F. Social Security Taxes
G. Volunteers

Chapter 14. Taxation

A. Income Taxes: Hobby Rule
B. Property Taxes: Appraisal and Exemptions

Chapter 15. Health and Quarantine Requirements

A. Equine Infectious Anemia
B. Mosquito-borne Diseases
C. Quarantine Regulations
D. Importation and Transportation

Chapter 16. Injuries to Horses

A. Abuse or Neglect by Owners
B. Horse Protection Act
C. Killing Horses for Insurance
D. Veterinary Malpractice

Chapter 17. Horse Registration

A. Registration
B. Registration Cancellation
C. Ownership Disputes

Chapter 18. Horse Showing

A. Show Recognition
B. Performance Evaluation
C. Membership Suspension and Expulsion

Chapter 19. Horse Racing

A. Disputes Over Purses
B. Injuries to Jockeys: Worker’s Compensation
C. Injuries to Jockeys: Common Law Actions
D. Suspension and Expulsion: Grounds
E. Suspension and Expulsion: Procedures

Chapter 20. Forms of Business Association

A. Sole Proprietorships
B. Partnerships
C. Joint Ventures and Syndicates
D. Corporations

2001 by Jan and Robert Dawson

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