Tips to Avoid an Equine-Related Lawsuit
While owning a horse is fun and exciting, don’t ignore the legalities that could arise. Although no horse owner wants to experience equine-related lawsuits, the reality is that they can and do happen, and these lawsuits can cause a lot of hassle, heartache, and heavy expenses. It’s important to educate yourself about equine law and know the right steps to take to avoid a lawsuit. The following are tips to ensure your involvement with horses remains an enjoyable experience.
Create a Safety Program
A commitment to safety will reduce the risk of injuries and liability. Develop a series of safety practices that clients must follow as this will reduce the risk of liability. Also, train your workers well and ensure your workers understand the vital importance of safety. A business is liable for the negligent acts its employees commit during their employment.
Supply riding gear to clients such as helmets, and require clients to wear boots with heels. Additionally, perform regular equipment inspections to ensure it is in good working condition and will not cause an injury. If you have a track, inspect it regularly and have it professionally repaired as needed.
Get Waiver Forms
These forms demonstrate that an individual was aware of the risks involved and agreed to them anyway. Ensure the forms apply to those who sign them, such as clients who ride a horse at your facility.
If other horses come to your care or custody, take pictures of the horse and have records when they are on your property with a sign-in sheet. This serves as evidence to prove when the horse was on your property should something happen to the horse. Also, record each horse’s feeding regimes as well as this helps defend you if someone’s horse gets sick after in your care.
Don’t Keep a Vicious or Dangerous Horse
This applies to any horse that bites, kicks, stamps, or knocks down objects. You should know and keep tabs on the temperament of all horses. If a horse has a bad temperament and poses danger to you or a client, it’s best to get rid of the horse. Also make sure a horse is suitable for a client and will not cause any danger.
Cultivate Good Relationships With Clients
People are less likely to sue people they like, even if the other person was negligent. To protect against an unwanted lawsuit, maintain a good relationship with your clients. Show respect for everyone through kindness and goodwill. Be careful what you say to clients and have a good attitude.