If you don’t like the weather in Kentucky, an old saying goes, wait a few minutes and it will change. The same often is true for court decisions. If you think one court got it wrong, there probably will be another decision from a different court that reaches an opposite conclusion.

A few months ago, I shared an appellate decision in Maine that expanded the conventional idea of “faulty tack” to include a functional, working-order saddle that might have been used in an improper manner. The case involved a child who was injured when the saddle slipped on a pony she was riding. The court concluded that using a fleece-covered girth on a fat pony with withers that might charitably be called less-than-prominent amounted to providing faulty tack, even though neither the saddle nor the girth nor the cover had any physical defects.

The Maine court’s reasoning should get the attention of anyone who relies on a state equine liability statute for protection against personal injury lawsuits. Forty-six states (all except California, Nevada, Maryland, and New York) have statutes that provide a defense for lawsuits arising from inherent risks of participation in equine activities. These statutes also typically include an exception for faulty tack or equipment, however. Being kicked or falling off might be inherent risks of riding; suffering an injury because a stable owner provides broken equipment is not. The definition of faulty tack or equipment can be the difference between winning and losing a costly lawsuit for an equine activity sponsor.

In Hubner v. Spring Valley Equestrian Center, the New Jersey Supreme Court d