Q&A: Letting Your Horse Be Used In Lessons

Q: I have the opportunity to reduce my monthly board payments by allowing my horse to be used in my barn’s lesson program. I love the idea, because I could really use the extra money, and my horse is generally extremely quiet and straightforward. However, I’m also a bit worried about the ‘what ifs.’ What if my horse is somehow injured in a lesson? Or what if someone falls off of him and gets hurt?

A: You’re asking all the right questions, as liability is definitely the biggest concern when entering into this sort of agreement. The farm owner likely has liability insurance and may also utilize a liability waiver designed to protect him or her; however, very rarely does this insurance or liability release protect the individual horse owner or boarder such as yourself. Therefore, you will want to ensure that you have taken the necessary precautions, and considered the options for protecting yourself and your horse.

By |January 12th, 2018|Articles|

Getting Paid as an Equestrian Professional

It’s no secret; if you do not get paid for your horse training, boarding, or professional services, you will not be in business for long.

Horses are expensive to own and keep, and when clients don’t pay bills, those costs still must be paid. Whether it is an expensive horse that competes at the top shows or a more affordable mount for trail rides, when you provide services to a horse owner as a barn owner, trainer, veterinarian, farrier, or shipper, unpaid bills can mount quickly.

Fortunately, the law provides specific protections from clients who don’t pay their bills for most barn owners and veterinarians, and if your boarding, veterinary, training, or farrier service contract has a required security deposit, retainer, or ironclad payment clauses, you may not even need to read this article.

However, most professionals don’t have strong contractual agreements or stringent repayment provisions. Instead, some trainers and boarding farm owners tend to even operate leniently toward late payments, in no way penalizing the client should funds show up a month or two later than due.

By |November 16th, 2017|Articles|

What Happens Next? – The Chronicle of the Horse

Show jumping today is becoming less accessible to more Americans as the costs of participating increase. This is a dangerous trend, because the wealthy rider has become the new normal. Fifty years ago, riders made their way up the ranks riding both good and bad horses owned by others; now, most grand prix riders or their families own their own horses.

The youth of today need to avoid riding on easy street. Riding only nice horses and nice courses is fun and nice to watch, but it doesn’t develop the underlying foundation a horseman needs to be a great rider. So, how can we stop the mollification of the sport?

Let kids be kids and ponies be ponies. At a young age, the least important part of riding should be showing. 4-H, U.S. Pony Clubs, riding bareback, tent pegging, jumping on and off, taking care of the ponies—these will all do more for creating a stronger generation of riders. Learning how to fall, and not fall, is so much easier when the distance to the ground is small. Learning how to get that pony over the wall or around the ring is more important than a leadline blue ribbon. Kids and ponies need to mix it up to shake out the best.

By |October 24th, 2017|Articles|

Where Did the Grit Go? – The Chronicle of the Horse

Much like our Thelwell ponies and difficult horses taught us physical and mental toughness, the sport itself and the courses demanded it. In the second part of this series, we discuss taking care of the horse and teaching the horse.

Most shows had permanent outside courses for hunter competitions when I started riding as a junior. Devon (Pa.), Junior Essex Troop (N.J.), Ox Ridge (Conn.), Fairfield (Conn.), Chagrin Valley (Ohio), Jamesburg (N.J.) and New Brunswick (N.J.) all had outside courses with permanent brushes, walls, and posts and rails. It was galloping and jumping without the need to count strides when there were 20 of them between fences. The gates were straight, and the walls were solid. Our small ponies had to jump 2’6″ and 24′ in-and-outs. We only had a 50-50 chance of making it in one stride, but we kept trying.

By |October 16th, 2017|Articles|

In Praise of the Difficult Ones – The Chronicle of the Horse

Visit Chronicle of the Horse to subscribe and view the article as it originally appeared. 

Recently, several prominent trainers and riders have discussed how the discipline of show jumping has changed, and it has.

Prior to 1950, American show jumping, with its standing martingales and rub classes without time allowed, was a vastly different sport than the one practiced in Europe. Then in the 1970s, Jerry Baker and Gene Mische, along with the renowned course designer Pamela Carruthers, brought European style grand prix jumping to the United States, and U.S. show jumping embarked on a meteoric rise. The Cleveland Grand Prix and the Tampa Invitational (Fla.) introduced width, water, walls, combinations and banks to our grand prix riders.

By |October 5th, 2017|Articles|

Q&A: How Can I Protect My Horse Out On Lease?

Q: I am preparing to lease out my 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding for the first time, and, while I know and trust the lessee, I’ve heard horror stories of leased horses coming back entirely unsound or unusable. Is there anything I can do to help protect myself and my horse from that scenario?  

A: Yes, and you are already taking the first and most important step by thinking of these possible scenarios now, rather than waiting for a problem to arise! The majority of what you can do to protect both you and your horse all relates to having a detailed lease contract signed prior to the start of the lease. Here are a few components of a good lease contract that you may want to consider in direct relation to your question:

The Trainer – The most important factor in deciding whether to lease your horse is the stable the horse is going to and the trainer who will be responsible for managing the horse’s training and showing program. It is important to learn the qualifications and reputation of the trainer who will be in charge. You should specify in the lease which trainer will be responsible for the horse and that a change in trainer can only occur with your approval in writing.

By |August 29th, 2017|Articles|

You Sold Me a Stopper!

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|

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|