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Ohio equine immunity statute, Riding a horse requires someone to acknowledge some inherent danger. Specialized legal guidelines and restrictions are in place in Ohio that restrict liability for specific equestrian activities. Most American states now have equine immunity legislation in place. The main goal of this legislation is to give horse owners equine. Professional organizations that work in the horse business have some minimum liability protection. Horse owners and other parties are exempt from liability for injuries resulting from an inherent risk of equine activity under Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.321).


Ohio equine immunity statute, Important aspects of equestrian law.

The following four reasons warrant highlighting the Ohio horse immunity law:

The Definition of “Equine Activity” is Relatively Broad.

ORC 2305.321 only applies to activities involving horses. Despite this, the law gives the equestrian activity a broad definition. It encompasses, among other things, horse competitions, leisure riding, facility-based training for horses, rider education or training, facility-based boarding for horses, and horseshoe replacement.

Ohio equine immunity statute, Equine Activity Participant.

Definition of “Equine Activity Participant” in General The immunity statute of the state does not limit protection to horseback riders. The statute still applies to those who watch horse shows and other activities, according to Ohio courts.

Only the risks that are “Inherent” are protected.

The term is defined in the Act as “a risk or condition that is an essential element of an equestrian activity.” What exactly counts as an inherent danger will depend on the specifics of the situation.

Owners of Horses or Property May Be Responsible for Negligence.

It does not offer complete defense against all causes of action. It only offers defense against hazards that are already present. Liability against a horse owner or company in the equestrian industry may be established in the event of an accident brought on by carelessness.

Ohio equine immunity statute, What the Statute Actually Means.

Although a law may state one thing, it may be applied very differently in practice. There are several questions regarding Ohio’s horse immunity statute, according to Maribeth Meluch, an attorney with Isaac Wiles & Burkholder in Columbus.

Although it states you need one, given some of the language in the statute, I’m not sure why you would need one.

The cautious course of action, according to Meluch, who provides legal assistance to equine businesses, would be to keep utilizing releases, have them resigned annually, and have an attorney review their text frequently.

Ohio equine immunity statute, The courts have never truly defined law.

Should they sign it, just like a farrier does when they come to shoe your horses? Given that they work with horses, like veterinarians and trainers, they might be protected by the law. Any visitor to your house should purposefully position themselves in front of you if you want to be as cautious as possible.

When it comes to kids, it gets much more complicated. You generally cannot discharge your children’s claims in Ohio. Therefore, it is invalid in Ohio for you to sign a release agreement for your child that states, “I won’t sue you because I fell from this horse or the animal kicked me.” Do all children benefit from the statutory immunity now that it exists? We are unsure. Therefore, when we sign releases, we frequently ask the parents to indemnify the facility or horse owner against any claims made by their children in 18 to 20 years, according to Meluch.

Ohio equine immunity statute, Dogs roaming the grounds.

She claims that it’s typical for equestrian facilities to have dogs roaming the grounds. This could make legal issues more difficult. “The question of whether a horse spooks because there is a dog has been debated in the courts on both sides. If there is an injury, who is responsible? Is that an equine activity, or under the amended legislation, is that a different defense or a different tort where you have to have your dog under control?” she asks. “So if you have dogs, chain them up. Avoid taking the chance.

Ohio equine immunity statute, There are gaps in it, according to Meluch.

According to Meluch, it “doesn’t cover everything. “If you’re a trainer and you provide a horse and the tack and it breaks, you won’t be protected. You might still be held accountable if, while giving someone riding advice based on what they had previously told you about their experiences, you gave them a horse that was too feisty or terrifying. There are some things that are sort of immune from that law, such as anything that is willful and wanton.

Meluch observes that although no one will likely purposefully damage another person, “they can nonetheless be egregiously reckless. Thus, you must use caution.

It won’t be enough to merely rely on the equestrian immunity provision. You need signed releases, possibly the assistance of an Ohio animal law attorney. See our summaries of personal injury, premises liability, and animal law for more details on this area of law.

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