Ponying Up to Draft and Negotiate Horse Boarding Agreements in New York

Drafting or negotiating a horse boarding agreement? Don’t shut the stable door after the horse has bolted! A good horse boarding agreement clearly sets forth the rights and obligations of the stable and horse owner, and may have significant legal consequences in the future. While pre-printed forms may serve as a good template, the template often requires some modification in order to bring it in line with the parties’ intent. There really is no “one size fits all” when it comes to a written agreement. Therefore, the parties may wish to consult with an attorney before finalizing the agreement.

Listed below are some common issues that arise during the course of negotiating a horse boarding agreement.

First, it may seem obvious, but are the parties’ names correct? If title to the horse farm is held by a business entity then (x) the correct name of the business entity should appear on the agreement, and (y) the individual signing on behalf of such entity must have the authority to do so (e.g. by resolution signed by one of the entity’s principle owners). If the agreement does not bear the correct names of the parties or the agreement is not executed by authorized signatories, then the agreement may not be enforceable.

Second, do both parties understand the indemnification/hold harmless clause and its implications? For example, if the horse farm’s negligence causes harm to the horse, is the horse farm liable? The “one size fits all” form agreement may or may not be consistent with the parties’ expectations.

Third, do both parties understand their insurance obligations? What insurance is the stable required to carry? What insurance is the horse owner required to carry? Do the parties agree to a waiver of subrogation? Is proof of insurance required? Is the horse owner required to notify the horse farm owner before a policy is cancelled?

Fourth, how does the agreement address emergency care? Does the agreement include the horse owner’s emergency contact information including an alternate contact if the primary contact is unavailable? Does the stable have permission to authorize veterinary care if the primary and secondary emergency contact cannot be reached?
Fifth, does the agreement clearly describe the procedure for addressing a party’s default and the procedure for terminating the agreement?

Lastly, does the agreement accurately describe in detail the parties’ arrangement regarding basic care of the animal in terms of the type of grain/feed/hay provided, training, exercise, bathing, trailer storage and maintenance?

In sum, ponying up to draft and negotiate a detailed boarding agreement in the beginning can help avoid a dispute down the road.

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The Law Offices of Keith R. Betensky, Esq.
The Empire Building
26 Village Green, Suite 4
P.O. Box 22
Bedford, New York 10506-0022
(914) 338-8050

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