Liability Waivers and Contracts in the Horse Industry

liability waivers in the horse industry

Working with horses is an extraordinary opportunity and experience and Maryland certainly has some of the most beautiful horse country. However, anyone who has owned a horse, or is in the horse boarding, training, or breeding industry knows that working with a horses can change your life, and with that change comes many legal implications. If you are in the equine industry, it is important that you have a basic understanding of contracts and liability waivers.

Equine Lease, Sale, and Boarding Contracts

Contracts exist for the lease, the sale, and the boarding of horses, as well as horse training, employment contracts for staff members, and more. Likely, contracts will also exist between property owners (if the property where horses are boarded is being leased), feed suppliers, and multiple other parties depending upon their situations.

The most basic contract will cover:

  • The name and description of the horse;
  • Any animal registration information;
  • Whether or not the animal is being leased or sold, if leased, a leasing contract should specify–
    • Full vs. partial lease (will the lessee have full, unrestricted access to the horse, or only be allowed to use the horse at certain times?),
    • Onsite vs. offsite conditions,
    • Payment that will be rendered,
    • Lease term, and
    • Conditions – for example, that the animal must be well-cared for and kept in good condition, who can use the horse, what the horse can be used for, who will be responsible for medical care for the horse, where the horse will be kept, etc.;
  • If the animal is being sold, a detailed cost of what the sale will include and the amount of money that will be exchanged; and
  • Information detailing that the party entering the lease or the sale (the owner of the horse) has the legal authority to lease or sale the animal.

 Liability Waivers in the Horse Industry

Having liability waivers is especially important in the equine industry in Maryland, as the state does not have a law that is designed to control liabilities in equine accidents (46 other states have such laws). Thesewaivers state that those who ride, work with, or are around the horses understand the potential dangers that are associated with walking, riding, boarding, feeding, or grooming of said horses, and thereby release the other party from liability should the signing party befall harm.

For example, a business that operates by providing horseback rides should make sure that all riders sign a liability waiver. This way, if a party is injured while riding–i.e. they fall off of their horse–the company is not liable for damages.

Contact Our Experienced Equine Attorneys Today

If you are in the equine business, working with an attorney is in your best interest to avoid any contract pitfalls or and to avoid overlooking any liability issues. At the Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans, III LLC, our experienced Maryland equine attorneys are here to guide you through everything you need to know about liability waivers and contracts in the horse industry. To schedule your initial consultation, call us today at 410-626-6009.

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