PUBLIC ACT 111
SENATE BILL 240
SYNOPSIS: AN ACT to limit the civil liability of persons
participating in equine activities, amending a named Act.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Equine
Activity Liability Act.
Section 5. Purposes. The General Assembly recognizes that
persons who participate in equine activities may incur injuries as a result of
the risks involved in those activities. The General Assembly also finds that the
State and its citizens derive numerous economic and personal benefits from
equine activities. Therefore, it is the intent of the General Assembly to
encourage equine activities by delineating the responsibilities of those
involved in equine activities.
Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
(a) "Engages in an equine activity" means riding,
training, assisting in medical treatment of, driving, or being a passenger upon
an equine, whether mounted or unmounted, or assisting a participant. The term
"engages in an equine activity" does not include being a spectator at
an equine activity, except in cases where the spectator places himself in an
unauthorized area and in immediate proximity to the equine activity.
(b) "Equine" means a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or
(c) "Equine activity" means:
(1) Equine shows, fairs, competitions, performances, or
parades that involve any or all breeds of equines and any of the equine
disciplines, including, but not limited to, dressage, hunter and jumper horse
shows, grand prix jumping, 3 day events, combined training, rodeos, driving,
pulling, cutting, polo, steeplechasing, English and western performance riding,
endurance trail riding and western games, and hunting.
(2) Equine training activities, teaching activities, or both.
(3) Boarding equines.
(4) Riding, inspecting, or evaluating an equine belonging to
another, whether or not the owner has received some monetary consideration or
other thing of value for the use of the equine or is permitting a prospective
purchaser of the equine to ride, inspect, or evaluate the equine.
(5) Rides, trips, hunts, or other equine activities of any
type however informal or impromptu that are sponsored by an equine activity
(6) Placing or replacing horseshoes on an equine.
(d) "Equine activity sponsor" means an individual,
group, club, partnership, or corporation, whether or not the sponsor is
operating for profit or nonprofit, that sponsors, organizes, or provides the
facilities for an equine activity, including, but not limited to, pony clubs,
4-H clubs, hunt clubs, riding clubs, school and college sponsored classes,
programs and activities, therapeutic riding programs, and operators,
instructors, and promoters of equine facilities, including, but not limited to,
stables, clubhouses, pony ride strings, fairs, and arenas at which the activity
(e) "Equine professional" means a person engaged for
compensation (i) in instructing a participant or renting to a participant an
equine for the purpose of riding, driving, or being a passenger upon the equine,
or (ii) in renting equipment or tack to a participant.
(f) "Risks of engaging in equine activities" means
those dangers of conditions that are an integral part of equine activities,
including, but not limited to:
(1) The propensity of an equine to behave in ways that may
result in injury, harm, or death to persons on or around them.
(2) The unpredictability of an equine's reaction to sounds,
sudden movement, and unfamiliar objects, persons, other animals, or other
(3) Certain hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions.
(4) Collisions with other equines or objects.
(5) The potential of a participant to act in a negligent
manner that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, such as
failing to maintain control over the animal or not acting within his or her
(g) "Participant" means any person, whether amateur
or professional, who engages in an equine activity, whether or not a fee is paid
to participate in the equine activity.
Section 15. Participant's responsibility. It is recognized
that equine activities are hazardous to participants, regardless of all feasible
safety measures that can be taken.
Each participant who engages in an equine activity expressly
assumes the risk of and legal responsibility for injury, loss, or damage to the
participant or the participant's property that results from participating in an
equine activity, except in specific situations as set forth in Section 20, when
the equine activity sponsor or equine professional may be held responsible. Each
participant shall have sole individual responsibility for knowing the range of
his or her own ability to manage, care for, and control a particular horse or
perform a particular equine activity, and it shall be the duty of each
participant to act within the limits of the participant's own ability, to
maintain reasonable control of the particular horse or horses at all times while
participating in an equine activity, to heed all posted warnings, to perform
equine activities only in an area or in facilities designated by the horseman,
and to refrain from acting in a manner that may cause or contribute to the
injury of anyone.
Each participant, or parent or guardian of a minor
participant, may execute a release assuming responsibility for the risks of
engaging in equine activities. The release shall give notice to the participant,
or parent or guardian, of the risks of engaging in equine activities, including
(i) the propensity of an equine to behave in dangerous ways that may result in
injury to the participant, (ii) the inability to predict an equine's reaction to
sound, movements, objects, persons, or animals, and (iii) the hazards of surface
or subsurface conditions. A release shall remain valid until expressly revoked
by the participant or, if a minor, the parent or guardian.
Section 20. Exceptions.
(a) This Act shall not apply to the horse racing industry as
regulated in the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975.
(b) Except as provided in Section 15, nothing in this Act
shall prevent or limit the liability of an equine activity sponsor, an equine
professional, or any other person if the equine activity sponsor, equine
professional, or person:
(1) Provided the equipment or tack, and knew or should have
known that the equipment or tack was faulty, and the equipment or tack was
faulty to the extent that it caused the injury.
(2) Provided the equine and failed to make reasonable and
prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in
the equine activity and determine the ability of the participant to manage
safely the particular equine based on the participant's representations of his
or her ability.
(3) Owns, leases, rents, or otherwise is in lawful possession
and control of the land or facilities upon which the participant sustained
injuries because of a dangerous latent condition that was known to the equine
activity sponsor, equine professional, or person and for which warning signs
were not conspicuously posted.
(4) Commits an act or omission that constitutes willful or
wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, and that act or omission
caused the injury.
(5) Intentionally injures the participant.
(c) Nothing in this Act shall prevent or limit the liability
of an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional:
(1) Under liability provisions as set forth in the products
(2) Under liability provisions in the Fence Act.
Section 25. Warning.
(a) Every equine professional shall post and maintain signs
that contain the warning notice specified in subsection (b) of this Section.
Signs shall be placed in a clearly visible location on or near stables, corrals,
or arenas where the equine professional conducts equine activities if the
stables, corrals, or arenas are owned, managed, or controlled by the equine
professional. The warning notice specified in subsection (b) shall appear on the
sign in black letters, with each letter to be a minimum of one inch in height.
Every written contract entered into by an equine professional for the providing
of professional services, instruction, or the rental of equipment or tack or an
equine to a participant, whether or not the contract involves equine activities
on or off the location or site of the equine professional's business, shall
contain in clearly readable print the warning notice specified in subsection
(b) The signs and contracts described in subsection (a) shall
contain the following warning notice:
|Under the Equine Activity Liability Act, each
participant who engages in an equine activity expressly assumes the
risks of engaging in and legal responsibility for injury, loss, or
damage to person or property resulting from the risk of equine