Legal Questions and Answers for the Horse Community

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Rachel Kosmal McCart
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Boarding Stable Liability Releases ?Who is Held Harmless?

Q: I have my horse at a barn and the owners recently sold it. The new owners just turned all the waivers over except mine. Is that legal? Because now I'm riding on their property and I board there but they don't have a waiver for me! What if I get hurt or something? And they won't transfer it over. I don't know why. Is it legal for them to do that? How can I get a waiver?

A: The liability releases that barn owners typically have their boarders sign are generally intended to protect the barn owners, not the boarders. This means that if you or your horse cause injury to someone else, you can be held liable. The kind of liability release that you want is the kind that releases you from liability! At ELS, we customize liability releases depending upon the situation. For example, if you invite a friend to come out and ride your horse and your horse bucks them off, you'd need a specific type of release to protect you from liability. Similarly, you'd need another type of specific release if you leased your horse to someone. The more specific the release is, the more likely it is to be upheld in court ?see Liability Releases on Equine Legal Solutions?website for more information.

It is interesting that the barn owners turned over the releases to the new owners, because unless the release specifies the name of the barn rather than the owners, it would not likely be effective to protect the new owners. A liability release is essentially a contract, and it's a contract between the parties specified in the release. If you aren't a party to the contract, you aren't protected.

About the Author: Rachel Kosmal McCart, the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, is a lifelong horsewoman and experienced lawyer. Equine Legal Solutions, the Legal Counsel with Horse Sense TM , offers a full range of legal services for the horse community, including dispute resolution, customized contracts and risk management assessment.
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