|Public Act 136
EQUINE ACTIVITIES--ACCEPTANCE OF RISK--WARNINGS
AN ACT RELATING TO LIABILITY OF PERSONS INVOLVED IN EQUINE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of
Sec. 1. LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE AND POLICY
(1) Equine activities are important to the economy and culture
of the state. It is appropriate to provide a sound legal basis for determining
when equine activity sponsors should be liable for injuries suffered from those
activities, realizing that equines are prone to behave in ways that may result
in injury, harm or death to persons involved in equine activities.
(2) It is the policy of this state that no person shall be
liable for damages sustained by another solely as a result of risks inherent in
equine activity, insofar as those risks are necessary to the equine activity and
obvious to the person injured.
(3) It is the policy of this state that persons responsible
for equines, or responsible for the safety of those engaged in equine activity,
whose negligence proximately causes injury to a person engaged in those
activities, is liable for that injury in accordance with other applicable law.
§ 1039. EQUINE ACTIVITIES; ACCEPTANCE OF INHERENT RISKS
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Equine" means a horse, pony, mule or donkey.
(2) "Equine activity" includes but is not limited
(A) 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, three-day events, combined training, rodeos, riding, driving, pulling,
cutting, polo, steeplechasing, English and western performance riding, endurance
trail riding, gymkhana games and hunting;
(B) Equine training or teaching activities, or both;
(C) Rides, trips, or hunts.
(3) "Equine activity sponsor" means an individual,
group, club, organized camp, club, partnership or corporation, whether or not
the sponsor is operating for profit or nonprofit, which 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, stable and farm
owners and operators, instructors and promoters or equine facilities, including
but not limited to farms, stables, clubhouses, pony ride strings, fairs and
arenas at which the activity is held.
(4) "Participant" means any person, whether amateur
or professional, who engages in an equine activity, whether or not a fee or
other consideration is paid to participate in the equine activity.
(b) No person shall be liable for an injury to, or the death
of, a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities,
insofar as those risks are necessary to the equine activity and obvious to the
(c)(1) An equine activity sponsor may post and maintain signs
which contain the warning notice specified in this subsection. Such signs shall
be placed in a clearly visible location in the proximity of the equine activity.
The warning notice shall appear on the sign in black letters, with each letter
to be a minimum of one inch in height.
(2) Every written contract entered into by an equine activity
sponsor 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, may contain in clearly readable print the warning
(3) The signs and contracts described in this subsection shall
contain the following warning notice:
|Under Vermont Law, an equine activity sponsor is not
liable for an injury to, or the death of, a participant in equine
activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities that
are obvious and necessary, pursuant to 12 V.S.A. § 1039.
Sec. 3. REPORT
Not later than January 15, 1998, the department of banking,
insurance, and securities shall report on the effects, if any, of this law upon
the ability of persons who engage in equine activity to obtain liability
insurance at a reasonable cost and upon all other participants who engage in
Sec. 4. APPLICABILITY
This act shall apply only to actions arising from acts or
omissions which occur on or after the effective date of this act.
Approved: April 30, 1996