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Insuring For Unpredictable Behavior While You're Instructing

You're making a living instructing riders and/or training horses. You love the opportunity to work with horses. Even though you don't train or instruct on your own property, you're still exposed to liability. There's always a risk when you're dealing with large animals that can sometimes act unpredictably and combine that with riders of various skill levels. You need to make sure that you're properly insured so that if horse owners or students become injured, you're financially protected against claims or lawsuits.

*NOTE. If you generally perform training and instruction on your own properties, then you should read Horse Instruction, Coaching & Training Services Liability Insurance.

What you'll discover in this report:

  • The uniqueness of independent contractors
  • Common claims that people make against instructors/trainers
  • How you can plan ahead
  • The coverage offered by a Commercial General Liability Policy
  • Other types of insurance you should consider

What's Unique About Independent Contractors?

Because you work with stable owners and work on their property, you want to make sure that they're properly insured, but your situation is quite unique.

  • Don't own any of the locations where you offer your training or instruction services
  • Hold a contract with the stables
  • Hold a contract with your students and the horse owners
  • Sometimes borrow or “rent” a horse to use in exchange for lessons or a fee

Stable owners will also want to make sure that you're properly insured too. Many will want proof of your Commercial General Liability Policy that insures your training or instructing activities. If you carry your own policy, some stable owners will ask to be named as Additional Insured. This doesn't insure the stable for any of its business activities and or in the case of negligence. It covers them only in relation to what you do at their location.

There are some stable owners that may be willing to add you to their stable's liability policy. If you do this, make sure you do is have proof of your name on the policy. Here are some disadvantages of this situation:

  • You're only insured at that one stable. That means that anywhere else you offer training or instruction, you're not covered.
  • You're not insured to use your own horse.

What Are The Most Common Claim Incidents?

  • Your student or a handler becomes injured during the period of instruction. With inexperienced riders pushing their limits and the horse's, the horse can react unpredictably and buck or stop unexpectedly causing the rider to fall. Common injuries include broken arms, injured tailbones or backs, broken or bruised ribs, shoulder injuries and in worst cases, head injuries.
  • While learning something new during a training session the horse becomes injured or dies. Often horses act unpredictably in a strange environment or while an instructor is preparing or riding the horse for demonstration or assessment.
  • A horse you're training gets loose and runs into traffic and causes an accident.

How Can I Plan Ahead?

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

  1. Enforce barn rules
    Make sure that you and your staff enforces the rules and procedures developed by the owner of the farm. If there aren't any, develop rules for both horses and people. Also write 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 the property you're using
    By inspecting the 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?

  • Equine Professional Liability: If you're a qualified instructor or trainer you want to make sure to protect your livelihood. The more the public sees you as an expert, the higher your exposure. Add this endorsement to your general liability policy for a small premium charge.
  • Care, Custody & Control Liability: This policy will protect trainers from expenditures for loss, illness or injury that could happen to a horse in your care. It's an optional coverage with a separate small premium charge.
  • Horse Mortality and Major Medical: If you're leasing the horse, you're considered it's temporary owner so you want to make sure that you protect yourself from liability should the horse die or become injured or sick during your lease period.
  • 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.

At Henry Equestrian Insurance Brokers Ltd., we understand horses and your business. We can help protect you and your livelihood. Contact us today with any questions or click on Get a Free Quote for an obligation-free quote.