Equine Leases ““ Common Problems and How to Avoid Them
We receive numerous inquiries from people who have encountered problems during their equine leases ““ both from lessors (the ones who own the horse and part with it subject to the lease terms) and lessees (the ones who receive use of the horse). Advance planning, and legal help, can prevent several problems. Here are some equine lease problems and suggestions for avoiding them.
Problem: The horse becomes ill during the lease term
The lease can address this problem by including clauses that require a specified veterinarian to attend to the horse for routine and non-routine matters. To better ensure that proper care will be given, the lessor can pre-pay the veterinarian for routine attention, such as shots, and request proof from the veterinarian that services were performed. The lease can also require the lessee to keep the horse under a specific equine health program. Also, a lease agreement can specify a standard of care for the horse during the lease term, such as “the standard of care customarily given to high-quality show horses in the (add the term) industry.”
Problem: The Lessee needs the lease term extended
Some lease agreements state that they are valid for an indefinite period, as long as either party gives the other a month’s advance notice of termination. Others have a strict, inflexible duration. If either party wants to preserve the option to extend the lease for more time ““ to allow, for example, the lessee to qualify the horse for a specific competition”“ the lease can allow for this. For example, it can provide a period of time during which the lessee must notify the lessor of an extension, the failure of which will prevent an extension.
A well-worded lease agreement cannot prevent all disputes from occurring, but it can potentially narrow the grounds of a dispute. Don’t take chances with your documents, and direct your questions to a knowledgeable lawyer.
Julie Fershtman is considered to be one of the nation’s leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 200 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 28 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info. December 19, 2013