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You Sold Me a Stopper!

Update: Case Verdict Reached – The Florida federal judge in this case, ruled in favor of the former owner and trainer of Vorst, after the jury found that they had not misrepresented the medical history and performance of the horse. Read more here.


The recent lawsuit in Florida over the sale of a potential grand prix horse, Vorst, to a wealthy Mexican owner provides an opportunity to discuss the responsibilities of sellers and risks to buyers in a horse deal. This case is especially interesting since all the parties appear to be knowledgeable and sophisticated participants in equine sport. However, a horse was sold and did not turn out as hoped. To coin a phrase from the financial industry: “Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.”

In this case, a horse was purchased for $250,000 and shipped to Mexico. At the first competition, the horse allegedly started stopping and went lame. The owner sued on the basis that there was misrepresentation as to the horse’s past performance and soundness. The seller denied the allegations and claimed that the new owner didn’t properly prepare the horse for competition, causing injury. The horse is now supposedly valued at $30,000.

By |August 21st, 2017|Articles|

Q&A: I Want To Board Horses at Home, What Legalities Should I Know?

Q: I have a nice four-stall barn and outdoor ring at home where I’ve kept my two horses for years. Now, I’d love to make a little extra income by boarding an additional horse or two. Legally, is there anything I need to do before I take my first boarder?

A: Yes, beginning to board horses is not something that should be taken too lightly, as – even though you view it as just a bit of extra income on the side – it is considered operating a business, and proper measures should be taken accordingly.

Should something happen to one of your boarder’s while they are riding in your ring, you likely will not have insurance coverage through your homeowner or property insurance policy. Instead, prior to accepting boarders, you’ll need to do look into your commercial liability insurance options and purchase the appropriate coverage or policy endorsement.

Next, it’s highly recommended to have prepared both a liability release and a boarding contract. The liability release should be signed by anyone engaging in equine activity on your property, including your future boarders and their friends and family members. Depending on your state of residence, Equine Activity Liability Act warning signs may also need to be hung on your property. It should also be noted, that liability releases and proper liability signage are still not a substitute for liability insurance.

By |August 8th, 2017|Articles|

Can They Do That? Questions Surrounding the USOC Complaint from Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke

Professional hunter riders and trainers Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke have filed a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Section 10 Complaint against the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) regarding their suspension by USEF following a positive drug test.

The complainants seek to have the USOC put the USEF’s National Governing Body (NGB) status on a six-month probation based on allegations that the USEF Hearing Process was unfair and did not provide due process to them as required under the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act and the USOC Bylaws. They want the USOC to intervene and find that the USEF Hearing Committee has not been compliant with its requirements to provide a fair hearing. More details can be found here and here.

But do Farmer and Glefke really have a legitimate claim with the USOC? Armand Leone weighs in briefly on this interesting new development in the Farmer and Glefke suspension case:

Q: I thought the USOC only oversees athletes that compete in the Olympic Games and championships. Is this really something that they would be involved with?    

A: While the role of an NGB under the USOC includes the regulation of national competition, its primary focus is on the international equestrian disciplines and their pipelines. Given that the Farmer Glefke suspension case does not affect participation in international sport, this is not something I see the USOC getting involved with. As hunter riders and trainers, Farmer and Glefke are participating in a non-FEI discipline and the charges against them have nothing to do with the selection for either an Olympic Games or a World Equestrian Games. The USOC is currently getting ready for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, and my guess is that there will be more pressing matters for it to deal with in the upcoming 6 months.

By |June 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|

When to Call An Equine Lawyer

Armand Leone is an attorney by trade and no stranger to the court room, but when he leased a horse in 2012 that became injured, he was involved in a lengthy and expensive arbitration for which he hired a lawyer. After giving endless “horses 101” lessons to his counsel before any progress could be made on his case, Leone realized there was an opportunity for him to help his fellow horsemen. As a result, Leone Equestrian Law was born in 2014.

Leone operates his business on a simple principle: horses are unique. According to him, the way horses are bought, sold, and leased is a process unlike any other seen in contemporary society. “Paying to educate an attorney about the horse business is not a cost effective way to resolve legal matters,” he says.

By |May 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Simple Steps to Avoid Unnecessary Doping Charges: Avoiding the Foreseeable – Competitive Equestrian

Today’s competition horses are under constant scrutiny to avoid even perception of doping and training abuses by competition officials and the public. The inability of a horse to protect itself from unscrupulous practices makes strict oversight of training and competition mandatory. This can create and adversarial atmosphere between riders, trainers, stewards, and equestrian regulatory bodies. Positive tests for forbidden substances degrade the athlete, the horse, and our sport’s reputation. Some violations involve doping with drugs that have no role in horse care: use of these drugs is intentional and dangerous for horses. These violators deserve the full force of sanctions and fines imposed.

By |April 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|

USEF Widens Responsibility for Horse Doping Offenses – The Chronicle of the Horse

A January announcement from the U.S. Equestrian Federation Hearing Panel suspending both the trainer (Larry Glefke) and the rider (Kelley Farmer) for use of prohibited substances is a step forward to eliminating drug abuse in competition horses. The days of restricting responsibility for drug offenses to the person signing as trainer on the entry blank are over.

The practice of holding the signing trainer responsible began with the American Horse Shows Association. As equestrian sport developed, the support staff for trainers and riders grew. More people are involved in getting a horse to the ring than ever before, and more opportunities exist today for a horse to be given prohibited substances before entering the ring. 

By |April 20th, 2017|Articles|

Armand Leone: From Nations Cup Teams to the Courtroom – Sidelines

Armand Leone of Leone Equestrian Law is an attorney by trade and a horseman by passion. A graduate of the Columbia Business School in New York and the Columbia University School of Law, he also received his M.D. from New York Medical College and his B.A. from the University of Virginia. While his professional endeavors led him into legal practice. Read more in the June 2016 issue of Sidelines magazine!

By |June 2nd, 2016|Articles|

10 Things You Might Not Know About Armand Leone – Horse and Style

Armand Leone is the oldest brother on “Team Leone,” made up of fellow international talents Peter and Mark. While Armand still rides and trains at his family’s Ri-Arm Farm in Oakland, NJ, he also unveiled Leone Equestrian Law in 2014. It was a venture founded on expertise, passion, and necessity. An attorney by trade with a long family history in horse sport, Leone realized that he had an opportunity to use his talents in the courtroom and law library alongside his dedication to the advancement of show jumping, in order to help create a stronger industry.

With a show jumping background, Armand was a contender for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Selected as an alternate for the show jumping team, he unfortunately did not attend as that was the year the Games were boycotted by the U.S. Professionally, Armand’s office wall represents the creme de la creme of respected American colleges. He is a graduate of the Columbia Business School and the Columbia University School of Law, but he also has his M.D. from New York Medical College and BA from the University of Virginia.

View the article in the pages of Horse & Style here!

By |May 25th, 2016|Articles|

LEASES & TRAINERS: More Than Meets the Eye – The Plaid Horse

Leasing a horse is to accept the responsibilities of temporary ownership. You are buying the horse for a specific period with all the good and bad, hoped for, and unexpected along the way. Like a purchase, the rider lessee’s trainer plays an important role in the lease venture, perhaps even a more important role than in a purchase. The experience the rider has during the lease depends on the trainer’s skill in finding the right horse to fit the rider’s needs.

There are immediate needs and reasonable financial constraints. The horse returned to the owner lessor at the end of the lease depends on the trainer’s keeping the horse in the proper program and with proper care.

By |April 20th, 2016|Articles|

The Dispute Between GCL And The FEI: Why It’s A Big Deal For The Horses – Chronicle of the Horse

Many people have heard about the FEI’s attempts to stop the Global Champions League team show jumping series, but few are involved. While the popular Longines Global Champions Tour operates under FEI rules, the GCL – a creation of GCT owners Jan Tops and Frank McCourt – seeks to operate as an unsanctioned event outside of FEI established sport, and the Belgian courts have temporarily allowed them to continue based on the allegations that the FEI’s exclusivity clause violated the European Union fair competition laws.

By |February 10th, 2016|Articles|