Equine Law – An Overview

.tags Equine law covers a wide range of areas involving horses. Equine law focuses on the buying and selling of horses, horse riding injuries, compensation claims, equestrian properties, horse related disputes, veterinary malpractice and equestrian businesses. The body which governs equine activities is the British Equestrian Federation and the body that deals with the trade of horses is the British Equestrian Trade Association. Around 4.3 million people take part in horse related activities every year and this figure is set to grow significantly after the 2012 London Olympics, for this reason equine law is becoming ever more necessary.

It is important that you write up a firm agreement when trading a horse and should be signed by both parties. An agreement should state the details of the sale, any money involved and the rights and responsibilities of the new owner. This should cover both parties should any disputes arise.

Equine legislation is being constantly updated, with owners of small equine businesses dealing with new areas such as internet sales and buying horses from abroad, new laws are needed to protect equine businesses in modern times.

Heath and safety is now also a major factor in horse related activities, from shows and events to running riding schools. Horses can cause a fair amount of damage and harm so it is important for people running events or riding schools to cover liabilities where necessary. Proper insurance should cover a defendant in the event of legal action being taken against them due to damage made by horses. In riding schools, it is the owner of the animals that becomes liable for legal action if someone they are teaching is injured by a horse. Liability for injuries cannot be removed through contracts and agreements. You should contact a specialist equine law solicitor for advice if you own a riding school and are worried about your liability.

Equine legislation may also take effect in cases of animal negligence. With more inexperienced newcomers purchasing horses, they often do not have the experience or knowledge of what it takes to care for a horse. In these instances the horse’s welfare will always need to be put first.

When letting out an equestrian property, it is important that you come up with a firm agreement detailing the duration of the let, permitted uses of the building, times in which the building can be accessed, the costs of the rental and any additional cost such as bills. By coming up with a firm agreement, you are less likely to come into any confusion or disagreements. If there are any disagreements, you would be more protected than if you had simply agreed on the contract verbally.

Equine law is continuing to grow with increasing numbers of lawyers and solicitors beginning to specialise in the subject. Many areas overlap with other sections of the law and it is important to be aware of your rights within equine law specifically.