Equine Liability: ‘My Friend Told Me I Could Take Her Horse Off the Farm’

No matter what is said, unless you have written permission from the horse's owner that an individual can remove the horse from your property, it should not leave.

There are many situations where a “friend” of a boarder represents to a stable owner that they’ve been given permission to do this or that activity with a boarder’s horse. Each of these instances can be problematic, but none so risky as the situation where someone represents they’ve been given “permission” to take the horse off property.

What are some of the issues?

First, you owe the owner of the horse a duty to keep the horse safe within your property boundaries. Allowing any third party to remove the horse fundamentally breaches that duty.

Second, simply taking someone’s word of “permission” amounts to gross negligence in the execution of your duty above. That person could be stealing the horse, or using it in an unauthorized manner.

Third, an accident can happen at any time. Typically, on your own premises, you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure to the best of your ability that those exposures are minimal.

Fourth, your “control” of the situation ceases the moment the horse leaves the property. Accident exposure exponentially increases.

Fifth, in a worse case scenario, you are facing serious legal exposure. Lacking proper paperwork, you can be liable for breach of contract, breach of warranty, breach of bailment duties, conversion, theft, accomplice to theft, and punitive damages for permitting this to occur without the owner’s express written permission and strict compliance with the terms and conditions of same.

So, rule of thumb—don’t let this happen, ever—without clear and unambiguous written instructions from the owner and signed liability waivers by all parties involved.

For more information contact Denise Farris, Perry& Trent, LLC. 13100 Kansas Avenue, Suite C, Bonner Springs, KS. Ph: 913-441-3411;   

This article provides general coverage of its subject area. It is provided free, with the understanding that the author, publisher and/or publication does not intend this article to be viewed as rendering legal advice or service. If legal advice is sought or required, the services of a competent professional in your state should be sought. The publisher and editor shall not be responsible for any damages resulting from any error, inaccuracy or omission contained in this publication.






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