OLS Solicitors Blog

Legal Tips for Horse Riders During Summer Competition Season

By Lara Davies on June 18, 2024

Legal Tips for Horse Riders During Summer Competition Season


Summer competition season brings excitement and anticipation for horse riders. With the warmer weather and extended daylight hours, it’s an ideal time to showcase your skills and revel in the camaraderie of the equestrian community. However, amidst the preparation and excitement, it’s crucial not to overlook the legal aspects that can impact your experience. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or new to the circuit, understanding and addressing these legal considerations can help you avoid potential pitfalls. In this blog post, we’ll provide essential legal tips to ensure a smooth and successful competition season.

1. Verify Competition Rules and Regulations

*Tip: Ensure you are familiar with the specific rules and regulations of each competition you enter.

Each competition may have unique rules regarding horse welfare, rider conduct, equipment, and qualifications. Ignorance of these rules can lead to disqualification or penalties. Thoroughly review the rulebook or competition guidelines, paying special attention to any changes or updates from previous years. Keep a copy of these rules for reference and ensure your team is equally informed. Understanding the qualification criteria and entry requirements well in advance can prevent last-minute surprises and help you prepare adequately, ensuring a smooth experience on the day of the event.

2. Health and Safety Compliance

*Tip: Adhere to all health and safety requirements for both horse and rider.

Competitions often have strict health and safety regulations, including vaccinations, health certificates, and biosecurity measures. Ensure your horse’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that you have all necessary health certificates. Riders should also comply with safety gear requirements, such as riding hats and body protectors. Failure to meet these requirements can result in exclusion from the competition or legal liabilities in case of an incident.

3. Insurance Coverage

*Tip: Review and update your insurance policies for both horse and rider.

Having adequate insurance is crucial, including personal accident insurance for riders and equine insurance for your horse. Ensure your policies cover competition-related incidents, including travel, injury, and liability. Verify the coverage limits and any exclusions. Carry proof of insurance with you during competitions in case it’s required by event organisers or in the event of an accident. Consulting with an insurance specialist who understands equestrian needs can ensure you have the appropriate coverage.

4. Contracts and Agreements

Tip: Use written contracts for any professional services related to the competition.

Whether you’re hiring a trainer, transporter, or groom, it’s essential to have clear, written contracts outlining the terms of service. These contracts should detail the scope of work, payment terms, responsibilities, and liability clauses. Clear agreements help prevent disputes and provide legal recourse if services are not rendered as agreed. Always review contracts carefully and consider seeking legal advice if necessary.

Contracts are vital for clarity and protection. For example, a trainer contract should include the training schedule, fee structure, and performance goals. Transport contracts should detail the route, care provisions during transport, and liability for delays or injuries. Legal advice can help draft comprehensive contracts that cover all potential contingencies.

5. Horse Ownership and Leasing

*Tip: Clarify ownership and leasing arrangements legally.

If you’re riding a leased horse or a horse owned by someone else, ensure the arrangement is documented in a formal agreement. This agreement should specify the duration of the lease, responsibilities for costs, care requirements, and permissions for competition. Clearly outlining these details can prevent misunderstandings and provide protection in case of a dispute.

Loan agreements should be thorough and detailed. Key elements include the lease term, payment schedule, care and maintenance responsibilities, insurance requirements, and termination conditions. Permissions for competition should be clearly stated, including any restrictions on the types or number of events. Both parties should sign the agreement, and it should be reviewed periodically to address any changes in circumstances.

6. Transport Regulations

*Tip: Comply with all transport regulations when travelling to competitions.

Transporting your horse to competitions involves adhering to various regulations, including vehicle safety standards, driver qualifications, and animal welfare laws. Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and meets all legal requirements. Drivers should have the appropriate licenses and training. Additionally, plan your journey to include regular rest stops for your horse to comply with welfare standards.

7. Intellectual Property and Media Rights

*Tip: Understand your rights regarding competition footage and photos.

Many competitions will have photographers and videographers present, and they may use your images for promotional purposes. Understand the event’s policies on media rights and how your images may be used. If you wish to control the use of your or your horse’s likeness, negotiate these terms before the competition and ensure any agreements are in writing. For more detailed information on managing media rights, Equestrian Law provides excellent resources.

8. Dispute Resolution

*Tip: Have a plan for addressing disputes or grievances.

Despite best efforts, disputes can arise during competitions. Whether it’s a judging decision, a dispute with another competitor, or an issue with event organisers, it’s important to know the proper channels for resolving these issues. Familiarise yourself with the competition’s dispute resolution procedures and have a clear strategy for addressing any grievances promptly and professionally.

Knowing the competition’s procedures for handling complaints or appeals can streamline the process. Prepare documentation to support your case, such as photos, videos, or witness statements. Approach disputes calmly and professionally, seeking resolution through official channels first. If necessary, legal advice can provide guidance on more complex disputes. Lara Davies of OLS solicitors would be happy to oofer you some advice.


Summer competition season is a time for excitement and achievement, but it also requires careful legal preparation. By understanding and addressing these legal considerations, you can protect yourself, your horse, and your interests. From verifying competition rules to ensuring proper insurance coverage and complying with health and safety regulations, these tips will help you navigate the season with confidence and peace of mind.

Remember, being legally prepared is just as important as physical preparation. It ensures that you can focus on what you do best—competing and enjoying the sport you love.

Happy competing!

Request A Free Callback

    Your Name *

    Your Number

    Enquiry subject *


    • Lara Davies

      Lara is our Head of Legal Practice and a director. She advises on complex financial remedy proceedings, private child disputes, and Inheritance Act cases. She also has a keen interest in protecting vulnerable clients, particularly those who have experienced forms of domestic violence in their relationships. Lara has often represented fathers in private child proceedings and has a unique understanding of the challenges faced by them. Lara is keen horsewoman, and has spent her life competing in national and regional level dressage competitions with success. She is also a keen runner, and has completed Marathons, Half-Marathons and mountain races – she is now building up to her first ultra-marathon. Lara loves being outside in the mountains; her favourite place is the Scottish Highlands where she can be found a few times a year with her other half and their Pug in their campervan. She is slowly making her way through climbing each of the Scottish Munros and high peaks of England and Wales. Lara is a Welsh speaker.

    Home » Equine Law » Legal Tips for Horse Riders During Summer Competition Season
    Ask Us A Question