You see the warning signs pretty much everywhere you go with horses — at all kinds of barns, equestrian centers, horseback riding facilities, and horse events such as horse shows and rodeos. The signs say that there is an inherent risk in horse activities and that by entering the premises you are aware of and understand these risks. These signs are based on the Utah Equine Liability Act which protects people who sponsor horse activities from being liable for injuries or death that result from those inherent risks. The people who are specifically covered under the Utah Equine Liability Act are equine activity sponsors, equine professionals, live activity sponsors, and livestock professionals. Most states have these kind of laws.
Under the Utah Equine Liability Act, horse professionals are required to give notice about the limits on liability – either by a sign or a written notice. Obviously it is much easier to post a sign rather than give notice of the Utah Equine Liability Act to everyone who comes onto the property.
There are three important exceptions to the liability protection provided by the Utah Equine Liability Act. A horse professional can be found liable if he or she 1) knowingly provided faulty tack or equipment, 2) failed to make an appropriate match between the rider and the horse, or 3) owns or is in possession of land with a dangerous condition and does not give notice of that dangerous condition.
Other exceptions to the liability protection are 1) if the horse professional commits an act or omission that constitutes negligence, gross negligence, or willful and wanton disregard for the safety of the participant and that act or omission causes the injury and 2) if a horse professional intentionally causes injury to a particpant.
Please contact us at (801) 820-7488, for a free consultation if you have any questions about the Equine Liability Act.