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Kids caught riding my horse!

From: Paisley

Hi I have a question regarding liability. I have a horse and board him down the road from where I live. I do all the care(feeding /grooming). He just lives there. I have permission from the property owner and as all that sits it is fine. However, I was going about my usual duties, and a neibor came over and told me he saw three girls(13 years old or so) in there with my horse they had a rope and one of them actually got on him!!! I am fuming mad, he has been acting funny an now I know why. but what will happen to me if the fall off and get hurt?

I called the local police and there is nothing they can do for me, the officer sugested putting up private property or no tresspassing signs. Then informed me that there is no legal no tresspassing law or something that no criminal charges could be made in the event they get caught there any ways. So, now I don't know what to do, I just want to pitch a tent in the field and stay with him, but realistically this won't work. I have a job and a family...HELP! If you can.

I Live in Canada so maybe you can't but anything is worth trying! Thank you so much for our time, Paisley

Hi Paisley!

I wish I could help you with it, but I'm not a lawyer, and most of the lawyers I know are US lawyers, not Candian ones, so I can't even offer you a name. You need to consult with a Canadian lawyer who specializes in equine law.

Don't give up just because you've not managed to get help from the local police. If Canada is anything like the States in this regard, it would be quite unusual for local police to have any knowledge of or experience with horses - or with any police or legal matters involving horses. You need genuine information about the law and about your own potential liability. This is potentially a serious problem - it's already affected your horse and yourself, it could easily result in a child becoming injured, and it should not be allowed to continue. What does the property owner say about the situation? You are keeping your horse there with his permission - do those children have his permission to come onto his property? HE is the one who should be posting the "No trespassing" signs, as it's his property... and this situation almost certainly involves liability issues for him. He should have a conversation with someone at his insurance company and find out. He should also have a chat with the local police, and inform them that the children ARE trespassing (if this is the case). In the States, if there have been incidents of trespassers, prowlers, etc., it's possible to ask local police to incorporate a specific address or piece of property into their routine drive-by patrolling, at least for a week or two. You might ask the property owner if he would be willing to request this service - assuming that it's even available. I don't know whether the local police would be able or willing to do this, but it's certainly worth asking them to try.

Meanwhile, if I were you, I would probably begin by getting in touch with your national governing body for equine sports: Equine Canada (EC). Someone there should be able to help you find an equine law specialist in your province. The best I can do is to provide you with contact information for EC:

Equine Canada - National Office
2460 Lancaster Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1B 4S5

Telephone: (613) 248-3433
Fax: (613) 248-3484
Toll Free: 1-866-282-8395

One more possiblity: If you or the property owner can find out who children are, it might be possible to discuss the matter with their parents. I should think - at any rate, I should hope! - that the girls' parents aren't aware that their daughters are trespassing on other people's property and messing about with other people's horses. Sensible,responsible parents would not allow or approve of this kind of behaviour.

Good luck - I hope you can resolve this quickly! You're right about sleeping in the field being impractical, but I entirely understand the temptation.


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