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Getting legal advice for boarding stable

From: Jane Ellen

Dear Jessica, I was just fascinated by the information and ideas you provide about insurance and legal stuff. How can I find out more about this? My husband will be retiring pretty soon, and we are thinking about moving from our small farm to a much bigger one where I could board some horses and perhaps teach some lessons. I only have another two years before Don retires, and I would like to get as much information as possible "under my belt" before we sit down together and talk seriously about our farm and our plans. We already know that we will want all kinds of insurance, and you've given us good ideas about where to go for more information about that. But I want to know a lot more about the legal side of things. I've been interested in that ever since I bought a horse, many years ago, that was "seized" by the boarding stable because the owner hadn't paid board in six months. They eventually got the horse's papers and I was able to buy the horse, and he was just a really nice animal. Until that happened, I didn't know that there was anything legal that a boarding stable could do if somebody just didn't pay board. I always thought that if you owned the boarding barn, you would be stuck with the horse, because the only thing you could do would be not feed it, and nobody decent would do that, anyway I certainly couldn't deprive a horse of feed just because its owner wouldn't pay the board. Now that I am thinking about becoming a stable owner, that's something I will need to know about. Any how, that's what started me off being interested in these things. Do you know where I could find some books about these kinds of legal subjects? Jane Ellen

Hi Jane Ellen! You're not the only one interested - I've had a flood of letters lately about insurance and legal matters. Most are too specific for me to answer, and many are also far over my head. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I can suggest topics, questions, and sources, but for specific legal matters you'll need to talk to a lawyer in your area who specializes in equine law.

Having said that, though, I can indeed give you a good recommendation for general-information reading material. Just as there are first-aid books that I would like to see on the bookshelves of every horseowner, and books on breeding and foaling that I would like to see on the bookshelves of every horse-breeder, there are two legal-advice books that I would very much like to see on the bookshelves of every person who owns a horse or a barn. Whether you board horses at your farm, teach lessons, or just own a horse that you board at someone else's barn, these books are wonderful sources of good information. If you don't live in the USA, they might still be of interest to you, partly because it's always interesting to know how other people's legal systems work, and partly because the information may give you all sorts of insights into your own legal system, and all sorts of useful ideas to discuss with your own lawyer. They won't make you into a lawyer, much less into an equine law specialist, but you'll learn things that will help you stay out of trouble - and that will help you feel much better-informed and more intelligent when you are talking with your own lawyer.

Both of these books are written by equine law specialist Julie Fershtman. The titles are:

Equine Law & Horse Sense and More Equine Law & Horse Sense

(Before you ask: No, there's no connection between my "HORSE-SENSE" newsletter and these books, except for the fact that I've read both books and recommend them highly!)

Here's the information you'll need to order them:

Equine Law & Horse Sense sells for $17.95 + $3.50 shipping/handling charge More Equine Law & Horse Sense sells for $22.95 + $3.50 shipping/handling charge Michigan residents add 6% sales tax.

To order, contact Horses & The Law Publishing at (800) 662-2210 or send check or money order to Horses & The Law Publishing P.O. Box 250696 Franklin, MI 48025-0696

I believe that there is a discount offered if you order both books together - don't forget to ask about that.


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