A horse property is at risk of multiple assaults ranging from lawsuits to theft to injury to your horses. Let’s look at the many ways you can protect your horses, your assets and equipment during the next few weeks in this series of Protecting Your Farm and Stable.
A farm that allows many people on the premises will be best protected when owners or managers place signage that directs visitors where to go, where not to go, what they should or shouldn’t do, and dangers to be aware of.
What sorts of signage should you post around the property?
First, one of the most important signs for horse facilities is the no-risk or equine liability sign. As an example: “Under Colorado Law, an equine professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in equine activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, pursuant to section 13-21-119, Colorado Revised Statutes.” Forty-eight of 50 states has its own equine liability law, and wording might change slightly depending on the state statute.
Make sure you acquire the signage appropriate to your location and of the legal size (yes, in this case size matters). Post the sign in a highly visible area, and put up more than one sign if the size of the facility warrants it.
Other important signs can be posted in multiple locations:
- “Warning. Electric Fence.” This protects adults and children from shocks, and if people are aware of the electric fencing, they can take steps to keep dogs and other domestic animals away from the vicinity.
- “Please Close the Gate” is important to prevent horses from escaping.
- “Please Don’t Feed the Horses” prevents horses from eating materials that could be hazardous to their health.
- “No Smoking in Barn” is self-explanatory. A dropped cigarette or match could result in a disastrous fire.
- “No Trespassing: Private Property” signs can help keep inadvertent visitors off your property and alert uninvited individuals to stay out.
- Biosecurity signs are quite important to prevent spread of infectious disease around a property. To be effective, they need to be highly visible and in line of sight, not tucked away behind a door or among a number of other signs hung in the same place. These signs should note policies about farm visitors and requirements for protective clothing and boots for entry into a barn or horse-holding area.
- “Caution: Horses Bite” is another sign that can help non-horse folks who might visit your farm know to keep their distance.
Signage on your equine property can help you not only state your rules, but offer guidance to those who are not familiar with an equine facility and the possible hazards therein.
And of course, always have liability waivers created by an attorney familiar with your state’s liability laws signed by all riders, workers and guests to your equine property.