The general purpose of Utah’s Equine Liability Act is to protect horse professional from liability when someone is hurt or killed by horse activities. The basic premise of the law is that horse activities are inherently risky and anyone engaging in those activities accepts those risks. One of the exceptions to this protection involves faulty tack. If the horse professional 1) provided the equipment or tack, 2) the equipment or tack caused the injury, and 3) the equipment failure was due to the horse professional’s negligence – then the horse professional is no longer protected by the Equine Liability Act and he or she can be found liable for the participants injuries or death. Negligence is generally defined as not taking the care that a reasonable, prudent person would take.
The best way for horse professionals to protect themselves from this potential liability is to regularly inspect and properly maintain their equipment – and to have a system for recording these inspections and maintenance. If a horse professional maintains a log or checklist of tack inspections and maintenance this will not only help prevent accidents, but will be very useful in defending against any allegations of negligence. Having a regularly recorded checklist or log is better evidence than merely asserting verbally that the equipment and tack are inspected.