“Hi Stacy! I plan on spending the rest of my working career in the equine industry, hopefully as an instructor, giving people the opportunity to receive a strong foundation with an overall knowledge on horses, how to ride, and starting them off showing. With that, I am somewhat worried as to were the industry is going. I am from a part of New Jersey about 30 miles outside New York City where I get asked all the time about my opinion on the on going protests to get rid of the carriage horses that live and work there. Between situations like this, as well as events like when in Connecticut a boy was bitten by a horse and the case was taken to the Connecticut Supreme Court and ruled horses as “a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious” due to one specific case, what do you think the future of the equine industry if things like this are passed? So far people have been able to fight and be the voice of the horses and have been able to save them so far, but if change that is not in favor of the horses are made, how do you think this will effect the equine industry? What are your thoughts on what is going on? And what are actions that educated horse people can do to help educate others and save the industry that makes up ours lives that we love so much?”-Rachel D.

Thank you for brining this to my attention. After reading your question I searched the internet and read an article titled, “Horses the Next Pit Bulls? Connecticut Supreme Court Finds That Horses Are Inclined to Be Mischievous, but They Are Not Presumed to Be Dangerous” on the Hodgson Russ Attorneys website.Texas equine law sign

As a horse owner, it is frustrating. These people chose to approach animals that were confined…it isn’t like they were chased down by a loose horse. They made a mistake. It is a shame that the child was bitten but his parents chose to put him next to an animal. Any animal carries the ability to do harm and generally the larger the animal the greater the natural risk. Hamsters bite all the time, they just happen to be small. I have never touched an elephant but someday I want to touch one, and maybe even go for a ride . Even though I have this desire, and I do hope to go to Thailand some day, you can bet that I won’t be randomly approaching an elephant without being within arms length of that animals handler!

Thankfully many states do have laws that offer some protection for equestrians. I’m not an attorney and I’m not offering legal advice but the general idea is that many states recognize that there is ‘inherent risk.’ These laws are not intended to allow owners to be negligent, but they do allow that equines are not risk free.

But this still leaves A LOT of grey area. And that leaves room for lawsuits.

I wish I had an easy answer. Education and prevention will both be key. Thanks for getting me thinking about this issue.

What do you think?

Ohio equine law sign