Ride at your own risk..... or not?

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Ride at your own risk..... or not?

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  • Ride at ur on risk waver

View Poll Results: Ride at Your Own Risk..... or not?
Is this just an accident, no one is really at fault? 9 47.37%
Is the farm/horse owner responsible?? 5 26.32%
Is the experienced rider at fault for not keeping safe distance from other horse? 5 26.32%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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    10-09-2009, 03:48 PM
Ride at your own risk..... or not?

I am curious to what other riders think on this situation. There are so many possible outcomes its hard to know what to do these days when you can easily be sued. Leave a comment if you would like, or just pick your vote on the poll.

So you invite some friends over to your place to ride. This is your own farm, not a riding school/business just friends getting together to ride and have fun. You furnish the horses and tack, match the riders experience to the appropriate horse and start off riding. Everything is going great, everyone is happy you ask several times if each rider and their horse is getting along fine or any issues, alls good everyone else replies. The rider with the least experience in your group, their horse kicks out at another horse that came up behind them and makes contact with another riders horse and ultimately kicks that rider in the leg as well. (Now the horse who kicked out, normally is very easy going and you can pony other horses and is a great beginners horse, so the bad attitude is totally NOT normal). The rider who gets kicked, is hurt with a gash in leg. You get them to hospital to check for fractures or broken bones. No broken bones, just very bad bruising and a gash. Who is responsible? Is it a ride at your own risk?

(Also, the rider that got kicked, is an experienced rider, having as much experience as you or possibly more experience. And they know the horses, rode them many times before and knows their personalities.)
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    10-09-2009, 03:53 PM
Hmm, it seems like the rider who got kicked is at fault. If they are experienced, they should know better than to get close enough for another horse to kick them.
    10-09-2009, 04:01 PM
Unless they signed a waiver, it is the owner's responsibility
    10-10-2009, 04:13 AM
The excpirianx=ced rider should have been watching the distance between her horse and the other horse is what I think
    10-10-2009, 06:15 AM
Green Broke
I imagine (from a legal standpoint) it would be the owners. If you let people onto your horse you are responsible for them in that sense. Unless you get them to sign a waiver stating they ride at their own risk.

If they are riding on your horses, in your tack, on your farm...well its risky. Unless they were very close and trustworthy friends I would never do that. Even if you have a perfect horse, accidents happen, and they can be pricey.

You may say now that you would never sue if you came of a horse. But what if you were riding at a farm and some idiot bought a tractor too close to the horses or something, and they totally freaked out. You fell off, broke your back and you are going to be in a wheel chair for life. And you have no money. Or if someone told you a horse was dead quiet, you got on and it bucked you off and you're paralyzed?

I mean its easy to say you would never sue...but its possible that for the rest of your life you would need care. And money can make this a lot easier.

Be careful who you let ride your horses, and on your land. Someone else's horse on your land can make you liable, depending on the circumstance.
    10-10-2009, 06:42 AM
To paraphrase the sign at any commercial stable in the US, riding horses is dangerous. Just being around them is a risk and anyone associated with them should understand that. There is an old cowboy saying that says "More people are hurt on gentle horses then wild ones".

You can't warn people about each and every possibility that may occur in the vicinity of horses. It is an inherent risk. The exception that I can see is if a knowledgeable handler puts a rider on a bad horse - then the stable may be responsible since they knowingly increased the likelihood of an accident.

As for the poll, I voted that it was just an accident.
    10-10-2009, 07:30 AM
The sad reality is that although Equine Liability laws and releases/waivers/hold harmless documents protect you, just like with non-horse activities, nothing can prevent someone from suing you and the hassle and cost of just defending yourself can be a problem.

I am not a lawyer, but in the equine case law that I've looked at, most revolve around someone trying to show negligence (e.g. Putting a green rider on a green horse, or defective/improper tack), which is excluded from the liability laws.

Perhaps we live in a very horse friendly area, but the good news is that I know no one that has ever been sued for a horse related injury.

Finally, one piece of advice that I received from a lawyer that I always keep in mind. He told me horse folks love to brag about their horses, but never say anything that implies the future behavior of your horse. For example, never say 'my horse would never kick/rear/etc', though it is fine to truthfully relay past behavior ('my horse has never ....').
    10-10-2009, 01:04 PM
Green Broke
Legally, this really comes down to your State's laws and if you as the owner followed them.

Here in Kentucky we have to post a sign of certain dimensions with lettering 1 inch high in an easy-to-see area that says:
Under Kentucky law, a farm animal activity sponsor, farm animal professional, or other person does not have the duty to eliminate all risks of injury of participation in farm animal activities. There are inherent risks of injury that you voluntarily accept if you participate in farm animal activities."

As long as you have that posted properly, then legally you really don't have much liability when it comes to equine injuries either on the ground or in the saddle. Though I am sure there are always exceptions if there is proof that someone put a person in an obviously dangerous situation - I.e. New rider on a obviously untrained horse, or something like that. Also a signed waiver in the future can always help with your liability as an owner as well.

Overall - I think the scenario was just an accident. Yes, you could nit-pick it apart and say this person is responsible because of this, and this one is responsible for that. But really, it is just a risk that you take when you get on a horse.
    10-10-2009, 06:07 PM
Most states have inherent risk laws. Now this dose not stop someone from suing but it limits what they can do and win. I have signs posted all over my property that state the law here in my state and that being around horses is risky. It is a ride at your own risk type law. Singed waver or not. Each state has its own laws but most do have this type of law.
    10-10-2009, 07:08 PM
Thank you all for your advice.... I do appreciate it a lot. As for the experienced rider whom was hurt was my sister. I was just wanting to see what everyones opinion was on the subject.

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