Texas Liability Law Protects Barn Operators, Horse Owners

Barn operators and other equine industry professionals in Texas are now protected from liability connected to injuries sustained during equine-related activities under a limited liability law that went into effect in June.

Passed by the Texas Legislature on May 27 and signed by Texas Governer Rick Perry in June, SB 479, The Texas Farm Animal Limitation of Liability Act, immunizes barn operators, riding instructors, and trainers from liability connected to equine activities on grounds that such activities carry inherent risks. Veterinarians, farriers, owners, and horse show sponsors are also protected under the measure.

Jerry Thames, spokesman for the Texas Horse Council, said that the measure "puts people on notice" that equine activities carry risks. The law could also reduce the number of unfounded lawsuits brought against barn operators and horse owners.

"Basically, it means if I have a $100,000 horse that kicks somebody at a horse show, I'm not going get a $1 million law suit," Thames said.

Under the law, barn operators and horse show sponsors must post signs reading "Under Texas Law (Chapter 87, Civil Practice and Remedies Code), a farm animal (an equine) professional is not liable for injury to or the death of a participant in Farm animal (equine) activities resulting from the inherent risks of farm animal (equine) activities."

Texas is among 46 states with some kind of equine activity limited liability law on the books.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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