Let’s Talk Law… Tips From An Equine Lawyer


Stephanie Griffey, J.D., also known as Courtroom Cowgirl on Instagram, is an equine lawyer based in Idaho. She describes her firm, Griffey Law & Mediation, PLLC, as “fluent in horse – specializing in equine law.” 

Today, she is sharing “three tips from an equine lawyer.” 

“Tip #1) Know your state’s Equine Immunity Liability Act.”

“Most states in the United States have an Equine Immunity Liability Act. Equine Immunity Acts state that equine activities are inherently dangerous. Although the fundamental purpose of these Acts is to provide legal immunity in certain horse-related incidents, the details vary from state to state.

To gain the protections of your state’s Act, you will want to know:

  • What is an “equine activity?”
  • What is an “inherent risk?”
  • What types of horse people and entities are protected?
  • Is sign posting required to be afforded protection?
  • Is mandatory language required in contracts to be afforded protection?
  • What actions fall outside the scope of the Act?

As a rule of thumb, consult with a lawyer to familiarize yourself with the details of your state’s unique Equine Immunity Liability Act. Then, implement!”

“Tip #2) Strong handshake, stronger contract.”

“Most horse transactions are sealed with a handshake.

But, regardless of whether you’re buying, selling, leasing, boarding, or training and regardless of whether you’re a hobby horseman or a professional horseman, your horse transaction should be sealed with a well-written contract.

A contract describing the details of an agreement thoroughly and clearly can completely eliminate disputes and save tremendous amount of time, money and stress.

As a rule of thumb, the only way to protect your horse transactions (and your handshake) is with a contract.”

“Tip #3) Get a pre-purchase exam.”

“As an equine attorney, the majority of my clients have buy-sell disputes and the majority of those buy-sell disputes could have been resolved or prevented had there been a pre-purchase exam.

A pre-purchase exam is an important, and often undervalued, step in the horse buying process where a veterinarian evaluates the horse’s current health, condition and injuries so that a buyer can make an informed decision about purchase. 

As a rule of thumb, get a pre-purchase exam and be more thorough with your pre-purchase exam as the horse increases in price.”

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to her through her website or Instagram.

It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry when dealing with horses!

Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only.

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