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Insure your guided trail ride service so you don’t get taken for a ride

So many people watch horses from afar. Their first up close and personal experience is generally a guided trail ride. You own horses in Ontario and want to help cultivate this love of horses, so you rent out horses with saddles, bridles, helmets and other equipment and offer guides to lead the ride.

Usually these rides last 1 to 4 hours and give novice riders an experience where they can “test” their love of horses. But even though it’s a short ride, it carries risks of bodily injury, property damage and even lawsuits.

What you’ll discover in this report:

  • The risk level of running rental and guided trail ride services
  • Common claims that people make against guided trail rides
  • How you can plan ahead
  • The coverage offered by a Commercial General Liability Policy
  • Other types of insurance you should consider

What’s the risk level of running rental and guided trail ride services?

It’s high. You have customers of all ages and riding experience riding in natural areas. Horses can sometimes act unpredictably, and so can humans if they’re scared or inexperienced. It’s difficult for people with little to no experience to control a horse in these situations.

There are some ways to reduce your risk: make sure the horses never move at more than a slow trot and use horses that have had lots of experience with people.

What are the most common claim incidents?

  • Either the rider or the horse is frightened and the rider gets hurt when she jumps off the horse or falls. 
  • A medical crisis occurs because injured guests require more than what your resident medical staff can provide.
  • During a sudden rain or thunderstorm, a horse slips or is spooked by the lightning and the guest rider is hurt.
  • An insect or a swarm of insects bites/stings a guest rider or the horse because you didn’t remove a nest on the trail.

How can I plan ahead?

We know that you care about the horses and the people that you lead on the trails. There are steps to take to make sure that an accident never happens in the first place.

1. Enforce barn rules.
Look around and develop rules for your environment for both horses and people. Also write procedures. Then train every staff member to make sure they understand your rules and procedures.

2. Plan for emergencies.
Emergencies happen, but the better prepared you are, the better chance you have of providing the proper care to all the horses. If you’re prepared you can minimize the severity of any accident.

3. Develop semi-annual inspections of your property.
By inspecting your premises for potential hazards, you can take care of them before an incident occurs.

4. Prepare a written waiver and review Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act.
Anyone who participates in any horse activities on your premises needs to complete and sign the waiver. Make sure that you keep the signed forms on file and safely stored. The Occupiers’ Liability Act states that the stable owner/operator owes a duty of care to the people who enter their premises. This assures that any property they bring on your premises with them is also reasonably safe. You are free to restrict, modify or exclude this duty of care through your written waiver.

5. Follow Ontario’s Horse Riding Safety Act.
This legislation states that it’s mandatory that anyone under the age of 18 years of age must wear a helmet that meets ASTM, BSI or European Safety Standards and hard-soled footwear with a heel of no less than 1.5 cm.

6. Purchase an Equine Liability Insurance Policy.
Protect you and your business with an insurance company that knows horses and your business. You want to make sure that any legal feels are covered, claim costs and settlements to ensure that in the case of an accident, your business doesn’t suffer a financial loss.

What’s included in the Commercial General Liability Policy?

The policy gives you maximum limits or amounts of liability insurance for:

  • Medical expenses:  You can be sure a claimant’s low cost medical expenses are covered without a lot of questions about liability or responsibility. 
  • Legal defense costs: You can save your business the financial burden of court costs if you’re sued, whether the case has merit or not.
  • Claims or settlement costs: Without this policy you could be held responsible for bodily injury and property damage claims. 

Are there other coverages I should consider?

  • Property Coverage Endorsement: We can add this endorsement to your General Liability Policy if you’re a stable property renter to insure your tack, equipment and machinery for loss or damage.

Give people the ride of their life. And we’ll make sure that your business isn’t taken for a ride. At Henry Equestrian Insurance Brokers Ltd., we’re horse people. So we understand you and your business. Give us a call today, or click Get a Free Quote and we’ll make sure that you’re protected.