“What Should My Equine Release Include?”
Here is a checklist for an equine general release, but let me remind you that all wording of the document should be reviewed by your attorney.
What Should the Release Contain?
- The release should contain a heading at the top of the page, alerting the participant as to what he/she is signing. The header should be in bold, capitalized letters.
Example: “RELEASE OF LIABILITY: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY”
- The easier to read the better!
- The release should specifically state, at the beginning, that the participant is voluntarily and knowingly signing the release in exchange for participating in the subject equine activities. Example: boarding, instruction, etc.
- Identify the parties being released. The release should include the insured, employees, trainers, instructors, property owner (if different than named insured), etc.
- The release should be narrowly tailored to the equine risk, “equine and related activities, including claims arising out of the maintenance of the premises.”
- The release should state that the participant agrees to release the insured (owner/instructor/stable) from any claims for bodily injury or property damage arising from the insured’s negligent acts or omissions. The words “negligence” or “ordinary negligence” should be used.
- Does the release specifically except out any injury or damage resulting from gross negligence? Unless gross negligence is reserved, the release could be deemed totally unenforceable. It is against public policy to attempt to release gross negligence.
- Include indemnification/hold harmless clause. The participant should agree to indemnify the insured from any claims brought against the insured by a third party as a result of the participant’s equine activities.
- The release should contain specific language used in the Texas Equine Activity Liability Act.
- Include a statement at the bottom of the page, above the signature line, acknowledging that the participant understands what he/she is signing. It should be in bold, capitalized letters. Example:
“I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS AGREEMENT BEFORE SIGNING IT.”
- Have the participant provide their name, address, phone number, emergency contact information, and whether he/she is signing as a parent or legal guardian, and if so, the minor’s name and age.
- It may be wise to have both the parent and minor sign the acknowledgment portion on the release only, to establish a knowing assumption of the risk.
- The release should contain an acknowledgement provision, requiring signature or initial at each recitation by the participant, that he/she specifically acknowledges and accepts the following:
- Equine activities are inherently dangerous and pose a great risk of serious bodily harm.
- Equines are large, dangerous and unpredictable animals.
- The dangers of equine activities include, but are not limited to, the risks of death, bodily injury, property damage, falls, kicks, throws, bites, collisions with objects (stationary or moving), the loosening of riding equipment such as saddle girths, etc.
- The participant is responsible for his/her own safety.
- Safety equipment, including a certified protective helmet, has been provided or purchased by the participant and the participant agrees to wear and use this equipment at all times while engaged in equine activities.
- The participant agrees to abide by all rules of the stable/facility.
- The participant voluntarily assumes the above risks, dangers and hazards and the possibility of personal injury, death, dismemberment, or property damage relating to equine activities.
As I stated before, all releases should be reviewed by your attorney. Please send us any information that you would like us to include in our next newsletter. We love hearing and sharing your good news!
The goal of the Equine Newsletter is to promote the safe ownership and use of horses in Texas. Unfortunately, too many horse owners discover too late that their equine insurance is not sufficient to cover the increased risk their horses represent. Shannon Galvin Charanza is a fellow horse owner with a masters degree in Equine Reproduction from Texas A&M University. If you don’t understand your equine insurance or would like to speak to an insurance agent that shares your love and understanding of horses, please give us a call!
No person associated with this news letter receives any form of compensation for any products mentioned, nor should any mention of a particular product be considered an endorsement of that product. This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be considered authoritative on any topic. Please seek advice from an appropriate professional on any specific issue.