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Legal Aspects of Horse Management
ES 330

Instructor: Ruth E. Kochard, Counselor at Law



         There are many good (and some great) trainers, riders, instructors, and amateur horsemen and women.   However, all too often, competent horse people conduct their horse businesses as an afterthought - or with no thought at all.  The consequences to such business neglect can be catastrophic financially and personally-loss of farm, horses, reputation, and personal assets. 

         Legal Aspects of Horse Management is structured to present the "legal" side of horses.  A student completing this course will understand the legal ramifications of conducting a horse business, selling and buying horses and riding horses.   The understanding gained should minimize risks and provide an atmosphere in which horsemen and horsewomen can more fully enjoy their horses and their horse businesses.

         The first lesson addresses setting up a horse business, typical business entities and the advantages and disadvantages of each.  The second lesson addresses negligence and liability, the effects of state equine liability acts, and the need for various forms of insurance.  The third lesson addresses premises liability, criminal law, agency, conversion, and misrepresentation (fraud).  Contracts, and sales are covered in the fourth and fifth lessons, emphasizing the need for written agreements protecting both the sellers' and buyer's interests.  Horse related legislation, including statutes concerning zoning, licensing, and animal rights/protection, are areas often overlooked by horse owners and business operators that can result in criminal as well as civil liability.

                                         I.  Horse Business Formation
                                             A. Sole Proprietorship
                                             B. Partnership
                                             C. Limited Partnership
                                             D. C Corporation
                                             E. Limited Liability Company
                                             F. Subchapter S Corporation
                                             G. Joint Venture
                                             H. Syndication

                                        II. Torts:  Part One - Negligence
                                             A. Essential Elements

                                           1) Duty
                                                 2) Breach (of duty)
                                                 3) Causation
                                                      (a) Actual Cause
                                                      (b) Proximate Cause
                                                4) Damages
                                            B. Types of Negligence Claims Involving Horses
                                                 1) Instructors/Trainers
                                                 2) Farms and Boarding Facilities
                                                 3) Property Owners

                                          III. Torts: Part Two
                                                A. Intentional Torts
                                                B. Defenses to Tort Actions
                                                C. Equine Liability Acts
                                                D. Insurance

                                          IV. Contracts
                                                A. Elements of a Contract
                                                B. Offer/Acceptance
                                                C. Consideration
                                                D. Options and Firm Offers
                                                E. Consideration
                                                F. Promissory Estoppel
                                                G. Performance/Breach
                                                H. Contract Interpretation/Parole Evidence
                                                 I. Contract Avoidance—When is Performance Excused?
                                                J. Substantial Performance/Partial Breach
                                                K. Anticipatory Repudiation
                                                L. Remedies/Damages
                                                M. Breeding Contracts
                                                N. Boarding Agreements
                                                O. Emergencies
                                                P. Extra Fees
                                                Q. Barn Rules
                                                R. Insurance/Health Records
                                                S. Late Board/Agister’s Liens
                                                T. Eviction
                                                U. Leases
                                                V. Conclusion

                                             V. Sales
                                                 A. Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC") and Horses
                                                 B. Contract Formation
                                                 C. The Statute of Frauds - Generally
                                                 D. Contract Terms
                                                 E. Performance of the Sales Contract
                                                 F. Seller’s Duties/Obligation
                                                 G. Warranties
                                                 H. Remedies
                                                      1) Buyer
                                                      2) Seller
                                                  I. Deposits
                                                 J. Conclusion

                                           VI. Miscellaneous Horse-related Legislation
                                                 A. Zoning
                                                 B. Animal Rights/Humane Organizations and Laws
                                                 C. Employment Law/Licensing
                                                 D. Taxation
                                                 E. Death and Beyond:  Wills/Trusts
                                                 F. The Internet and the Law--Jurisdiction
                                                 G. Conclusion

                                          VII. Case Studies in Horse Law -
                                                 A. 14 Actual Equine Related Cases Reviewed
                                                 B.  Going to Court

      There are no textbooks required or suggested for this course

        There is no completion deadline for the course.  The student works at his or her own pace.  The student will not be "locked-out". 

         The grading scale for this course is as follows:
                 90-100%  =    A
                 80-89%    =    B
                 70-79%    =    C
                 Below 70%     Fail

        You are strongly encouraged to communicate via email with the instructor. Ms. Kochard is available as an instructor and mentor to assist you in meeting your goals for this course.  If at any time during this course you change your email address, please be sure to notify the instructor and office right away.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms when communicating with the instructor.
        Please include full name and address in all correspondence.  

        Many lessons require written assignments or essays.  They should be submitted as an attachment to an email using Word or a similar word processing software.
        Please be sure to include full name and email address on all documents - not just in the email message. 
        Proper grammar and spelling will be graded.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms - this is college level work.

        Access to a horse is not required.
        All assignments and quizzes must be completed.

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