Should your stable have rules? Stable rules list the
various policies and regulations governing activities on the property. In developing and posting them, stables try to establish limits for customers and visitors, set expectations, and promote safety. Stables have every incentive to develop, post, use, and update rules.
EXAMPLES OF STABLE RULES
Examples of stable rules can include:
• Days and hours of operation, and when the property is open for visitors, except for emergencies.
• When, where, or if, dogs are allowed on the property.
• No alcoholic beverages or drugs allowed on the property.
• No smoking on the property.
• Restrictions and requirements for outside instructors or trainers doing business on the property.
• Minimum ages for unattended children.
• Requirements for all visitors of legal age to sign the stable’s liability release form and how the forms should be returned to the stable.
• Locations for storage of personal items, tack trunks, and parking of horse trailers.
Certainly, stable rules will vary depending on the preferences and operations of stable owners and management.
GETTING THE WORD OUT
Once stable rules are established, integrating them into the stable’s operations and distributing them can take effort. Stable management can remind people of the rules by posting them on the walls, making them an attachment to each boarding and training contract, e-mailing them to each boarder, placing copies on the boarders tack trunks or lockers. For record-keeping, stables can require customers to acknowledge in writing that they received the latest rules and that they agree to abide by them.
CHANGING THE RULES
As time passes and issues arise, stables often amend their rules. How? Some stables arrange meetings with their boarders to distribute and discuss the newly issued rules. Some stables send the new rules to their clients by mail and e-mail. Consider texting each customer with an alert to look for the newly amended rules. Stables sometimes ask customers to acknowledge receipt of the new rules in writing. Also, when implementing the new rules, consider allowing a 30-day waiting period before they take effect, to allow customers to give notice of termination (as the boarding contract may allow) if they don’t accept them.
The boarding and/or training contract can reserve the stable’s right to issue amended rules with advance notice. Because of the possibility of rule changes, and the risk that different versions could become confusing, stables can include language on the bottom of each set of rules such as: “Issued: [Month] [day] [year].”
This article does not constitute legal advice. When questions arise based on specific situations, direct them to a knowledgeable attorney.
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
This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue