I'm going to college next year and I need to start looking into ways to pay for my horse. I want to lease him out to someone. I also want to do some lessons with him and train horses for extra income.
1) Are liability release forms any good? Everyone seems to say they are worthless but people always want you to sign one when you ride their horse. Is it better to do it just in case it might protect help?
2) What kind of insurance should I have if I'm giving a few lessons (on the property where my horse will be kept) and training several horses for others (on their property)? How much does that cost on average and what are the best places to get it?
3) Besides having good insurance and always taking precautions such as helmets, etc. is there anything else I can/should do to protect myself?
If there's anything else I should know, tell me! This kind of stuff is always a little confusing for me....
I'm also not 18 yet; I am aware you can't have insurance or anything until you are older than 18 but I wouldn't do this until then anyway :)
I'm not sure of the laws in your area, but I'll share my understanding of the issue.
The liability waivers that people sign usually say that with riding comes inherent risk, that the horse is an animal and cannot be completely controlled or predicted. That the owner will take all reasonable care but will not be liable for any accidents etc.
The problem arises when something happens and it could be argued that the instructor or whoever was negligent. Which means that due to their position and agreement they were responsible for something, but they did not live up to those responsibilities. That is what your insurance should cover. These kind of things might be putting the student on the right horse, not asking them to do more than they safely can do, conducting your lesson in a reasonably safe area, ensuring that the tack is safe. For this reason someone giving lessons will need a different sort of insurance than just a standard person. The problem might be that you might not be able to get the right type of insurance without having appropriate experience or qualifications, or it might just cost a lot. So make sure you know what your insurance does or doesn't cover and what your responsibilities are.
Training is another thing that you might want insurance for. Again, what you are responsible for is different, as you'll be making decisions as to what the horse is ready for.
Having a first aid certificate, maybe a instructing qualification would probably help. Also, checking things. Check your tack regularly, check that the riding surface doesn't have holes in it, that the fencing is safe and in good order. Make sure there aren't loose dogs around, or something that might spook your horse that you can avoid.
I am not a lawyer. The following advice is worth what you paid for it. :)
IMO, any form is better than no form.
A really good place to start is an insurance agent who deals with equine/farm policies. They will explain the insurance options. They will also have liability forms for your students to sign. Generally, an insurance company will want to see your liability release form to make sure it meets their standards. Often, they will be able to provide you one for use.
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