Sign on the dotted line.
Disclaimer: this piece is intended to be light-hearted and in jest — the following faux liability release should not be substituted for proper legal documents. If you are seeking more information on equine liability release, check out this article by HN contributor Kjirsten Lee, J.D.
Welcome to [enter your farm name here].
Since we have horses, we are basically poor and have no money, if you were to get hurt and try to sue us. Anyway, here’s a release form for you to sign to see how ridiculous it would be if you did get hurt and tried to sue us.
Horses have survived (and thrived) for thousands and thousands of years from their one basic instinct: fleeing from danger. They have mastered the art of running blindly away from whatever scares them. Running from danger keeps them alive, so they can reproduce and make horse babies that think the same way their parents do. (People have realized horses are really good runners, and have learned to channel that energy into making them money. Think Secretariat, Seabiscuit, American Pharaoh, etc.)
Danger to them could be perceived as a number of different things: a hungry mountain lion, a hungry bear, a hungry rattlesnake, any other animal that likes to eat horses, etc. Danger can also be something as basic as: a water bottle, the weather, the sound of a gunshot, traffic, a rain coat, cell phone, cowboy hat, any other inanimate object, etc.
Horses are very good at reacting before they think. That’s what keeps them alive. Thank Darwin for that one. Sometimes during the act of reaction, horses will buck, bolt, bite, rear or kick. Sometimes they will do all of these athletic maneuvers at the same time. It’s pretty impressive to the observer. Horses have been known to rear up and flip over on themselves, run off cliffs, fall and roll over on their rider, buck and then fall over, etc. Horses are skilled masters at stepping on toes and knocking people over.
Horses are always looking for a very expensive way to kill themselves. Sometimes they also try to kill their owner/handler/rider while they try to kill themselves.
There’s also plenty of basic stuff like bridles breaking, saddles breaking, mounting blocks falling over, yadda yadda yadda, that can get you hurt.
Horses are not babysitters. If they take care of you under saddle, they are only looking out for their best interest. If you want to put your kid on a horse so the horse can “babysit” it, we suggest that this is a horrible idea, so please sign here: _______________________________________
If after reading this you STILL want to ride, sign here. __________________________
Happy trails. Go riding!