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Horse boarding contracts: What happens when there are damages?

| Jul 13, 2020 | equine and animal law |

Contracts are all about establishing expectations and managing risk — and a horse boarding contract between you and the stable is no exception. If you’ve always stabled your horse with a friend or a neighbor based on nothing more than a handshake deal, you may be in for a shock at how detailed a horse boarding contract can actually become.

One overlooked item, however, may be the issue of damages to property. Ideally, you want to try to cover all your bases, including who will cover any losses caused by a horse acting the way that horses sometimes do. This includes accidentally injuring another animal, kicking through a fence, breaking a gate, biting through equipment and so on. After all, a cranky horse can do quite a bit of damage when it’s so inclined.

Here are a few of your potential options:

  • The stable pays: Some stables assume that these things will happen and they build the anticipated cost of monthly repairs and replacements into their fees. This is often the least stressful option for the owner and stable because the stable doesn’t have to worry about proving which horse damaged what item and owners don’t have to worry about unexpected bills.
  • You pay: It’s your horse, so the stable may insist that you bear all of the liability for damages. If you agree to a contract like that, you want to make sure that you won’t be charged for normal wear-and-tear (so you don’t end up financing a new stable). You also need to know how you can be assured that you’re only paying for damage your horse causes — not someone else’s.
  • You both pay: Sometimes a stable will assume (and set their fees accordingly) that they’ll handle all regular repairs up to a certain dollar limit. After that, however, the damage is yours to manage.

It’s smart not to try to handle your boarding agreements on your own. Owners and stables alike can benefit from legal advice when dealing wit741h a horse boarding contract.88889