Equine Legal Services & Risk Management Program

It may not be possible for stables to completely eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit but they can reduce the likelihood of litigation by positioning themselves to put forth a strong defense if one does occur.

This is the foundation for the AEA Equine Liability Loss Prevention Program;  a broad-based, flexible risk management system offering access to state-of-the-art contracts,  liability releases, operating procedures and legal experts

Liability Releases

A well written and properly executed Assumption of Risk & Liability Release is a mandatory requirement in the polo club underwriting process.  Many of the state equine statutes require specific language be included in the waiver to gain protection under the statute.

The underwriting review identifies key element needed for an effective and enforceable contract:

1. Document Clarity & Readability– The release or equine agreement must be clearly written with key language clearly highlighted.  The document should be printed in a reasonable type face as documents have been disallowed in court when the type size was too small or key language was buried in a large document

2. Document Form & Title – The document must be clearly titled in large type so the client knows exactly what they are being asked to sign.  Use terminology such as LIABILITY WAIVER & RELEASE or specific to the activity such as BOARDING & TRAINING AGREEMENT AND LIABILITY RELEASE.

3.    Specify Parties Released From Liability – All parties being released from liability in the agreement must be named.  If a party is not named they will probably not gain any protection in court.  It is not always possible to name every party to a contract so agreements will often describe additional releasees as “employees, agents, members, managers, officers, directors and related persons or facilities”.  Organizations should also consider including “affiliated persons, volunteers, sponsors and groups”.

4.    Recitation of Risks – Fully executed liability releases have been disallowed in court because the hazards the plaintiff faced were not spelled out in the release.  Plaintiffs have maintained that they either had no prior knowledge of the risk or the provider did not intend to be released from that exposure.  Including a bullet list of potential equine hazards such as bucking, running, biting, kicking, rolling or being stepped on clarifies the hazards involved with horses.  Many state equine statutes already include examples of these inherent riding risks.

5.    Clearly Identify Signers & Releasee – The agreement must clearly identify who is signing the release and who the release affects.  Include the signer’s full name, address and telephone number.  If the Releasee is signing on the behalf of himself and his minor child (under 18) specify that the release also pertains to legal wards, heirs, representatives and assignees.  Make sure that the person signing the release has the legal right to sign on the behalf of the minor.  It is also desirable to have a parent indemnify the equine professional as not all minor releases are legally binding  in  court and a minor could sue when reaching the age of

6. Use The Word “Negligence”  – In many states a release can include a clause that the customer, guest or visitor is releasing the Insured and related parties from liability from the consequences of ordinary negligence.  In California this is an absolute necessity for the agreement to be enforceable.  In most states, a release that attempts to relieve a provider from liability for gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct or intentional acts will not be enforced for those claims.

7.    Document Dates – The document must clearly indicate when it was executed, when it will take effect and how long it will remain in force.  Some equine activities in schools and universities require a new release to be executed every year to remain in force.

AEA Loss Prevention Program – Members Only

Legal Forms & Contracts

Access to state of the art contracts and liability releases written to address individual state legal environments. State of the art Equestrian contracts, waivers, releases, legal forms, risk management programs included in member benefits.

 Loss Prevention Consultation Service

AEA has brought together a network of equine legal and risk management experts who can help equestrian facilities create customized solutions for their unique operational issues.

AEA Risk Management Website

An on-line resource for membrs seeking assistance with insurance,  risk management and legal issues. Offers convenient access to comprehensive loss-prevention tools, procedures and forms

Legal Hot Line

The AEA Legal Hotline puts stable owners and trainers in direct contact with a nationally recognized law firm for immediate answers to most equine related questions.

 Loss Prevention Guideline Manuals

Reference guides that discusses key liability issues in layman’s terms and offers proactive ideas for avoiding claims and lawsuits.

Insurance programs underwritten by:


Our innovative insurance programs are used by thousands of horse owners and equestrian facilities throughout the United States.

The Equestrian Insurance Group is one of the leading providers of horse related insurance in the United States.  We are based in Phoenix, Arizona with offices in Del Mar, CA,  Denver, CO. and broker representatives throughout the United States.  We offer insurance products and risk management services for virtually every segment of the equestrian community.  Our policies cover horses, owners, trainers, riding instructors, riding clubs,  equestrian facilities and special events.  The Equestrian Group is recognized internationally for it’s unique policies and programs because all of our insurance professionals are personally involved with horses and their owners.