Horses and the law: A horsey lawyers unique perspective

OLS Solicitors Blog

Horses and the law: A horsey lawyers unique perspective

By Lara Davies on June 14, 2023

An article about common legal issues in the horse world in Autumn in the UK

Horse ownership in the United Kingdom, as anywhere else, is not without its potential legal pitfalls. From horse trading to stable management, every facet of horse-related activities has an associated risk that, if not managed properly, could end up in a legal dispute. While we often enter the world of equestrianism with an optimistic outlook, it’s important to remember that even friendly arrangements can sometimes sour, leading to unexpected legal issues, which we shall explore in this blog post.


The following blog post not intended as legal advice, but rather to raise awareness about some common areas of legal conflict in the equestrian world. It’s always wise to consult a qualified solicitor for legal advice.


Horse Ownership and Buying/Selling Horses


In the UK, the sale and purchase of horses are governed by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015. These laws set out the rights of buyers and sellers and the implied terms in a sale contract. For instance, the horse should be fit for a particular purpose that the buyer has made known to the seller. Non-compliance with these laws could lead to legal issues and even court cases.


Boarding Stables


Boarding stables regularly face legal issues with non-paying boarders or those who are consistently late with payments. In such cases, the horse often ends up as the only asset to negotiate with. UK law allows for a “Lien for stabling and pasturage of horses” (Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977). This provides stable owners with a legal right over the horse until the outstanding payment is made.


It’s also important to have a clear boarding agreement that includes the UK’s Animal Activity Licensing regulations and liability waivers. Remember, though, a liability waiver does not absolve a stable owner from all responsibility. If a boarder can prove negligence, a lawsuit could still be possible.


Leasing a Horse


Leasing a horse can offer a win-win situation for both parties, but it’s crucial to have a detailed contract outlining the terms, fees, and exclusions. This can prevent misunderstandings that could lead to legal disputes. The contract should include the lease duration, payment schedule, assigned riding days, and authorized riders, among other things.


Horse trailers


Owners of horse trailers should be aware of potential insurance issues when lending out their trailers or offering transport services. Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered and what’s not, as you may find that your home or car insurance won’t cover an accident involving your trailer and someone else’s horse.




Commercial equestrian businesses in the UK typically carry comprehensive insurance due to the high liability risk associated with their operations. It’s essential to understand exactly what your insurance covers. Trainers and riding instructors need to be cautious and consider obtaining coverage for the care, custody, and control of their clients’ horses, as the venue’s insurance policy may not extend to cover them.


Living in fear of lawsuits is no way to enjoy the wonderful world of horses. However, it’s always wise to be prepared by having detailed contracts, consulting with a solicitor for complex legal issues, and securing appropriate insurance coverage for your equestrian activities. This proactive approach is the best way to protect your interests and ensure a pleasant and worry-free equestrian experience.

Contact us for expert advice on your horse related matter.

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    OLS Solicitors launch new equine law service

    OLS Solicitors Blog

    OLS Solicitors launch new equine law service

    By Lara Davies on June 12, 2023

    Lara Hooper equine law expert

    New equine law service launches led by Lara Davies, equestrian and lawyer

    OLS Solicitors is pleased to announce the launch of a new equine law service. The firm’s decision to expand into this area of practice is rooted in their understanding of the unique legal needs of the equine world, including equestrians, farmers, and landowners.


    Senior level expertise in equine matters


    This new service is led by Lara Davies, a Director and solicitor specialising in Matrimonial and Private Children matters, who brings her personal passion and knowledge of the equine industry into play to provide comprehensive legal services tailored to clients’ needs.

    Lara Davies seasoned dressage competitor and horse owner


    Davies, a seasoned dressage competitor, understands the intricacies of the equine world first-hand, having spent her life successfully competing in national and regional level dressage competitions. Her experience in the saddle gives her a unique insight into the challenges and issues equestrians face. Combining this with her legal expertise, she is perfectly placed to guide clients through the complexities of equine law.


    Wide range of equine law services covered


    The equine law services offered by OLS Solicitors span a wide range of areas. These include Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements, Matrimonial Finances, Equine Dispute Resolution, Equine Drafting, and Wills and Inheritance Disputes. Each of these services is tailored to provide specialist advice on how equestrian and agricultural assets are treated and protected, particularly in the context of divorce and inheritance disputes.


    Equine dispute resolution services


    For instance, OLS Solicitors’ Equine Dispute Resolution service assists clients with all aspects of equine disputes, from the mis-selling of equines to loan disputes and ownership disagreements. Their senior solicitors work to resolve disputes efficiently and effectively, aiming to minimise clients’ legal costs.



    Equine drafting services


    The Equine Drafting service, on the other hand, is designed to prevent disputes from arising in the first place. This service offers drafting services in areas like loan agreements, agreements for sale and purchase, ownership and shared ownership, livery agreements, and more.

    Our commitment to the equine world


    In launching this equine law service, OLS Solicitors demonstrate their commitment to serving the unique needs of the equine world. With a team of senior solicitors equipped with personal understanding of the equine and agricultural industry, they are ready to assist clients in protecting their assets and resolving their disputes efficiently.


    The equine industry is complex and multifaceted. Legal issues can be just as complicated, requiring a deep understanding of both the law and the industry. Lara Hooper’s unique blend of legal acumen and personal equine experience places OLS Solicitors in an excellent position to provide a first-class service to their clients. Whether you are a horse owner, farmer, or landowner, you can trust in OLS Solicitors’ equine law services to help you navigate the legal landscape with confidence.

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