Boarding Contracts Part 2

Many attorneys recommend including in boarding contracts an exculpatory clause in which the boarder agrees to a waiver of the farm’s liability for personal injuries or injuries to the horse. This is important due to the nature o

Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Many attorneys recommend including in boarding contracts an exculpatory clause in which the boarder agrees to a waiver of the farm’s liability for personal injuries or injuries to the horse. This is important due to the nature of a boarding transaction. When one party (in this case the horse owner, or bailor) delivers property to another (the farm owner, or bailee), a bailment is created. A bailment generally does not create a fiduciary relationship between the parties, such as that of a trustee or guardian, in which a duty to act for the benefit of the horse owner would be imposed by law on the owner of the farm. A bailment does impose upon the person accepting the property (the farm owner) the duty to exercise ordinary care.


The common law rule is that when a bailment is created, the farm owner into whose care the boarding horse is entrusted is presumed to be responsible for any harm suffered by the horse. If a lawsuit arises, the presumption that the farm was at fault can be overcome by evidence that, more likely than not, the farm exercised ordinary care. A few states have adopted statutes that shift the responsibility for loss to the owner of a boarded horse, and in recent years, many states have imposed limitations on liability (often for personal injury) for harm suffered while engaging in equine activities. An attorney familiar with the laws of your state can advise you whether such statutes should affect the decision to include an exculpatory clause in your boarding contract


There is no required wording for an exculpatory clause. The parties should agree that so long as the contract is in force, the owner of the horse assumes all risk of loss for the animal. The owner also should agree to hold the farm harmless for any and all injuries to the horse.


Depending on the state in which your farm is located, such exculpatory clauses might, or might not, be strictly enforceable. Exculpatory clauses can be valuable nevertheless. Your liability insurance carrier might require such a clause as a prerequisite for coverage, and the fact that a boarder has agreed to a waiver of liability might discourage a lawsuit. (For more comprehensive coverage of liability issues, see The Horse of August 1998

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Milt Toby was an author and attorney who wrote about horses and legal issues affecting the equine industry for more than 40 years. Former Chair of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Equine Law Section, Toby wrote 10 nonfiction books, including national award winners Dancer’s Image and Noor. You can read more about him at TheHorse.com/1122392.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What lameness issues has your horse experienced? Select all that apply.
193 votes · 383 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!