Monday, February 11, 2013

Protect Your Ass(ets) - Professional Equine Liability Insurance

    Picture this.  You have decided to take up an offer and train a horse for an acquaintance to make some extra cash.  You do a schooling ride on someone else's horse here and there for gas money.  You give a lesson once a week to help out your coach.  Seems like common practice in the horse world right?  A good way to spend time doing what you love, and make some extra cash along the way.  It's all good...

 Until it's not.

  When that horse you are training bucks off its owner and puts them in a wheelchair.

 That horse you are riding for a friend happens to trip and end up out of commission for the rest of it's days.

 That kid you are teaching falls off and gets dragged down the driveway, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical and dental care.

Then, that extra twenty bucks you were making here and there isn't looking so hot.

 I know it sounds extreme.  You think, "that would NEVER happen to me".  But let me tell you, it DOES happen.  It happens every day, all over the equine world.

 Here are a few cases for example, although not all professional;

 Hilz vs Riedel - A young girl is severly injured from a fall at a friends house.

Young vs McKim - A worker responsible for caring for a horse was kicked in the head while working.

Back Injury After Fall from Horse - A woman is injured during a riding lesson

  If you are a member of an organization like the OEF (Ontario Equestrian Federation) here in Ontario, you have automatic coverage for liability involving your horse, so long as it is not a commercial entity.   If you are not a member of an organization, your homeowners policy may extend to cover a horse in the event of a non commercial claim. The moment you accept payment for a service you are considered a commercial entity and need a Professional Equine Liability policy to cover you.

 A Professional Equine Liability policy will protect you when you are working with horses, for others.  It is imperative you carry this type of policy if you are training; teaching lessons, catch riding, boarding, and even grooming.  The upfront cost outweighs the potential long term devastating life crippling costs you may incur, should you be found negligent in the event of a claim.  If you are living in the USA, you better be sure to have coverage.  The most lawsuits are recorded in America.

  If you are practicing any of these activities on your own property - you better be sure your farm or home policy covers you for that also.  Most property Insurance Companies need to know if there are commercial activities happening on the property they insure - including training horses, teaching lessons, etc.  If they are not aware of this and you have an unrelated claim, your claim could still be denied.

 The same thing applies to auto insurance.  Do not ever take money for trailering (unless it's gas splitting), without a commercial auto policy.

  In Ontario - the average Professional Equine Liability policy costs about $800.

  But don't take my word for it.  Do the research. Get educated.  Call a broker, get a quote. Get covered.  

 Insurance is something no one wants to think about or pay for, but I can not emphasize enough how important it is to cover your ass(ets), whether your home, your horse, your future.

A few links to some good Equine Law Blogs which cover equine liability, not just professional:


  1. You have such great advice. I appreciate all your advice on my situations.

    1. oh thank you for the kind words!

      I try not to sound like a know it all although sometimes I am sure it comes off that way. I try not to give advice unless I am very confident it is good advice! lol

  2. I have liability insurance. I'm not sure if I have insurance to cover the fact that a client horse flipped over on me and broke my leg this weekend. *sigh*

    1. Thank goodness it was just your leg (I mean not JUST your leg it is still awful) but it could have been much worse. Hopefully you can get coverage...and some help with your lay up.

  3. It's really good advice, I'll have to look in to it when buying my own horses and starting to do competitions etc. :)

    1. If you join Pony Club they should have some coverage for you also Amber Rose

  4. Its such a good idea to do this!! You can also insure your horse cant you??? Im not too sure

  5. Thank gosh for OEF!

    This was a great post - its been something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

  6. It's scary with what can happen. Part of me wants to have some sort of horsie business either boarding or reselling horses, but then the risk of injury to myself or other people might not be worth the risk. I read your examples that you provided. The instructor flicking the whip at a horse to canter and the rider falling off? That could happen to anyone... scary.

  7. USEF provides insurance as well if you are a member, as long as its non commercial just like OEF. I think its up to $100k (but don't quote me).

    This is why I don't do anything horse related for extra money.

  8. I have thought long and hard and often about insurance... i plan to do it but just can't afford it right now.

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