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Release of Liability: the first step toward managing risk and getting insurance for your horse business

Updated: Jun 13

Release of Liability for horse business

One of the first things I recommend anyone wanting to start a horse service business of any kind do is get insurance for their business.


It is an expensive cost, to be sure, but nowhere near as expensive as if you have something happen to you, a horse, or a client/customer. I would venture a guess most, if not all, of you reading this post have had a horse related injury at some point in your life. Heck, just this weekend one of my horses came up for some attention in his pasture and spooked, spinning his hoof right next to the side of my boot. Most horse injuries are minor but it’s not worth the gamble. 


Wait, but this post is about a Release, or Waiver, of Liability, not insurance, Kristin. You're right! Hear me out. A Release of Liability form alone won't cover you in the event of legal recourse. You will need and want both insurance and a Release of Liability for horse businesses if something unexpected does happen, at the very least, and the two go hand-in-hand.


When filling out the forms for horse-related insurance most every insurance company will ask to see a copy of your Release of Liability. A release of liability, also known as a liability waiver or hold harmless agreement, is a legal contract between two parties that protects one party from being held responsible for damages or injury caused by the other party. It’s best to have this document prepared when you apply for insurance instead of going back and forth with your representative, delaying the approval of your insurance application. 


While a Release of Liability may need certain stipulations based on the state you are located in, there are a few elements all of them should have: 


  1. A Title: Waiver and Release of Liability 

  2. The name of the activity your business provides

  3. An acknowledgment that the person signing volunteers to waiver their rights, claims or causes of action of any kind arising out of my participation in the activity you are providing

  4. Your name and your business name and an indication that the document releases from any physical or psychological injury that they may suffer as a direct result of their participation in the activity you provide

  5. An acknowledgement that the participant is voluntarily participating in the activity you provide entirely at their own risk

  6. An acknowledgement that the person signing has read and understood the release of liability

  7. A space for an emergency contact

  8. A space for the participant to sign and date the release of liability form

  9. A space for a parent or guardian to sign and date the release of liability form if the participant is a minor 


Please note, some states require only the legal parent or guardian to sign the release of liability form, as opposed to a family friend or grandparent who may bring them to their first lesson. Confirm what is required by your state and if it is one that makes this distinction I recommend sending the liability of release form to the person who inquired when scheduling the lesson and asking them to bring it with them to the first lesson signed by the appropriate party.


To help you visualize as you create yours, below is the approved Release of Liability form I use for Little Bird Farm. I have my insurance coverage through Equisure


_____________________________________________



WAIVER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY


In consideration of the risk of injury that exists while participating in HORSEBACK RIDING AND RELATED ACTIVITIES (hereinafter the "Activity"); and

 

In consideration of my desire to participate in said Activity and being given the right to participate in same;

 

I hereby, for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators, assigns, or personal representatives (hereinafter collectively, "Releasor," "I" or "me", which terms shall also include Releasor's parents or guardian if Releasor is under 18 years of age), knowingly and voluntarily enter into this waiver and release of liability and hereby waive any and all rights, claims or causes of action of any kind arising out of my participation in the Activity; and

 

I HEREBY release and forever discharge LITTLE BIRD FARM and KRISTIN BOWERS (owner/instructor), located at 985 Crooked Finger Rd NE, Scotts Mills, Oregon 97375, their affiliates, managers, members, agents, attorneys, staff, volunteers, heirs, representatives, predecessors, successors and assigns (collectively "Releasees"), from any physical or psychological injury that I may suffer as a direct result of my participation in the aforementioned Activity.

 

I AM VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATING IN THE AFOREMENTIONED ACTIVITY AND I AM PARTICIPATING IN THE ACTIVITY ENTIRELY AT MY OWN RISK. I AM AWARE OF THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PARTICIPATING IN THIS ACTIVITY, WHICH MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO: PHYSICAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY, PAIN, SUFFERING, ILLNESS, DISFIGUREMENT, TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT DISABILITY (INCLUDING PARALYSIS), ECONOMIC OR EMOTIONAL LOSS, AND DEATH. I UNDERSTAND THAT THESE INJURIES OR OUTCOMES MAY ARISE FROM MY OWN OR OTHERS' NEGLIGENCE, CONDITIONS RELATED TO TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE ACTIVITY, OR FROM CONDITIONS AT THE ACTIVITY LOCATION(S). NONETHELESS, I ASSUME ALL RELATED RISKS, BOTH KNOWN AND UNKNOWN TO ME, OF MY PARTICIPATION IN THIS ACTIVITY.

 

I further agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Releasees against any and all claims, suits or actions of any kind whatsoever for liability, damages, compensation or otherwise brought by me or anyone on my behalf, including attorney's fees and any related costs.

 

I further acknowledge that Releasees are not responsible for errors, omissions, acts or failures to act of any party or entity conducting a specific event or activity on behalf of Releasees. In the event that I should require medical care or treatment, I authorize Little Bird Farm (Kristin Bowers) to provide all emergency medical care deemed necessary, including but not limited to, first aid, CPR, the use of AEDs, emergency medical transport, and sharing of medical information with medical personnel. I further agree to assume all costs involved and agree to be financially responsible for any costs incurred as a result of such treatment. I am aware and understand that I should carry my own health insurance.

 

I further acknowledge that this Activity may involve a test of a person's physical and mental limits and may carry with it the potential for death, serious injury, and property loss. I agree not to participate in the Activity unless I am medically able and properly trained, and I agree to abide by the decision of the Little Bird Farm official or agent (Kristin Bowers), regarding my approval to participate in the Activity.

 

I HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I HAVE CAREFULLY READ THIS "WAIVER AND RELEASE" AND FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY. I EXPRESSLY AGREE TO RELEASE AND DISCHARGE LITTLE BIRD FARM and KRISTN BOWERS (OWNER/INSTRUCTOR) AND ALL OF ITS AFFILIATES, MANAGERS, MEMBERS, AGENTS, ATTORNEYS, STAFF, VOLUNTEERS, HEIRS, REPRESENTATIVES, PREDECESSORS, SUCCESSORS AND ASSIGNS, FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS OR CAUSES OF ACTION AND I AGREE TO VOLUNTARILY GIVE UP OR WAIVE ANY RIGHT THAT I OTHERWISE HAVE TO BRING A LEGAL ACTION AGAINST LITTLE BIRD FARM and KRISTIN BOWERS (OWNER/INSTRUCTOR) FOR PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE.

To the extent that statute or case law does not prohibit releases for ordinary negligence, this release is also for such negligence on the part of Little Bird Farm and Kristin Bowers (owner/instructor), its agents, and employees.

I agree that this Release shall be governed for all purposes by Oregon law, without regard to any conflict of law principles. This Release supersedes any and all previous oral or written promises or other agreements.

In the event that any damage to equipment or facilities occurs as a result of my or my family's or my agent's willful actions, neglect or recklessness, I acknowledge and agree to be held liable for any and all costs associated with any such actions of neglect or recklessness.

 

THIS WAIVER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR THE DURATION OF MY PARTICIPATION IN THE ACTIVITY, DURING THIS INITIAL AND ALL SUBSEQUENT EVENTS OF PARTICIPATION.

 

This agreement was entered into at arm's-length, without duress or coercion, and is to be interpreted as an agreement between two parties of equal bargaining strength. Both Participant (Rider name) (________________________________) and Little Bird Farm (Kristin Bowers, owner/instructor) agree that this agreement is clear and unambiguous as to its terms, and that no other evidence shall be used or admitted to alter or explain the terms of this agreement, but that it will be interpreted based on the language in accordance with the purposes for which it is entered into.

 

In the event that any provision contained within this Release of Liability shall be deemed to be severable or invalid, or if any term, condition, phrase or portion of this agreement shall be determined to be unlawful or otherwise unenforceable, the remainder of this agreement shall remain in full force and effect. If a court should find that any provision of this agreement to be invalid or unenforceable, but that by limiting said provision it would become valid and enforceable, then said provision shall be deemed to be written, construed and enforced as so limited.

 

In the event of an emergency please contact the following person(s) in the order presented:

Emergency Contact

Contact Relationship

Contact Telephone

 

______________________

 

______________________ 

 

_____________________ 

 

In the event that the participant is under the age of consent (18 years of age), then this release must be signed by a parent or guardian, as follows:

 

I hereby certify that I am the parent or guardian of the participant named above, and do hereby give my consent without reservation to the foregoing on behalf of this individual.



_________________________________________ _________________________________

(Signature) (Date)



Happy Riding!


_____________________________________________


If you have questions, want help with your business operations, or need help finding resources don’t hesitate to reach out. Little Bird Advising offers business coaching for equine business owners like you!


Blog posts from Little Bird Advising are not meant to replace individual professional legal advice.


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