This may have been asked and answered but I'm too lazy to look through the archives.
I have a couple of neighbor girls coming over once a week or so. I have been teaching them to ride and basic horse care. I am not a riding stable nor do I board horses. These are my horses and my free time. So far we've stayed to the round pen for riding and having them learn to lead the horse, clean feet, etc.
I hadn't worried about it much but this being the litigious country that it unfortunately is, should I have them sign some sort of release of liability?
I did buy them each a helmet (they were on sale cheap) and they do have their parents consent.
I hate to say it but I'd have their parents sign the standard "riding horses is inherently dangerous" sort of waiver. To be honest, someone could sue you regardless but having that waiver would help protect you.
Kinda sucks when you try and do a wonderful thing (and just where were you when I was a horseless horse crazy kid?! :-) ) and you have to think about what bad could come of it.
I would just for your protection. None of friends have ever been offended.
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Might want to check with house insurance agent too, as you having a waiver signed could put it into more problems.
And even with waiver? That won't protect you from getting sued, it just means you told them it was dangerous.
Kansas seems to have one of the better equine liability laws:
Kansas Equine Activity Liability Statute
Since state law is what matters, and court decisions affect state laws, I recommend contacting your local bar association and see if they have a referral system. In Pima County, $35 to the Bar's referral system buys you 30 minutes with a lawyer who specializes in the area you ask about. The law is too complex to just read the wording and think you know how a court will view it...
Just info... two pieces of advise that a lawyer once gave me.
- Never imply the future behavior of a horse, e.g. never say "this horse won't/will never kick/buck/bite, etc". It is OK to say "this horse has never..." if that is indeed true.
- In the event an injury does occur, document everything that day. If a suit is made and it gets to the point where you need to make a deposition, that can occur months after the incident and it is typical that people's recollection of details is 'fuzzy' and/or conflicting at best.
Thanks you all :-) I read the Kansas law and bought a warning sign that the Kansas Horse Counsel sells stating what the law is and the statute says needed posting. I also printed off a copy of the statute and will give one to their parents.
I really hate having to do it, they are nice people. Better safe than sorry though.
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