Horseback riding presents a variety of risks, including injuries that may be permanent. ABC News reports that this activity is the leading cause of brain injury in the sporting world despite the use of helmets and other protective gear. If you are a horse owner, you may be aware of the dangers, but what might the legal ramifications be if your horse hurts someone? While not all instances put you at fault, knowing those that may make you liable can help you prepare for the future.
If you own a stable or a boarding facility, you may protect yourself from liability by having your riders and boarders sign a waiver that states you are not responsible for any injuries that might occur as a result of riding or handling horses. This type of document would cover any horse on the property, including those you own. When individuals who want to ride on your property accept the risk in writing, they cannot hold you liable if your horse kicks, bites or throws them.
Some equine laws set down by the state of Georgia may help you avoid liability if your horse accidentally hurts someone. One code states that no horse owner may be held liable for injury or death because of the many risks related to horseback riding or jumping. Including this code on a waiver may help cement your riders’ understanding that they accept these dangers.
Instances of negligence or increasing the risk of injury to a rider may supersede any previous laws or liability waivers, so you may want to ensure that those who ride or work with your horse has the experience and riding ability to handle it safely.