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Spinoff from the "Delicate Situation"

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  • Spinoff from the "Delicate Situation"

    After reading some of the comments on that thread and considering today's climate on being PC I am glad I no longer run a riding school.

    I have always been very direct in stating my opinion. I never meant to hurt anyone's feelings but guess I did. I also had a student that was quite heavy. In this case it was an adult. Watching my horse struggle was the main concern and I had no qualms telling the person that he was too heavy for the horse. I did have several horses to choose from.

    I did worry at some point that it might be frowned upon my touching minor students when I patted their hind end to try have them move forward in the saddle or I took someone's thigh to move it into the right position.

    Then there was also the fear of being sued if there was an accident. I did try to tell the parents that no matter how careful we were there could be injuries. A friend of mine was sued because the child bit her lip when a horse spooked. She was told that she should not put a child on a horse that might spook.

    Another person was sued because her horse kicked a dog. She was told it was her duty to control the horse.

    Unfortunately most judges have absolutely no knowledge of horse behavior.


  • #2
    I didn't run a school but I mentored a few kids in my time. No more. Too much headache and I wouldn't open myself up to the new era we have now of armchair experts on what is and isn't "proper" to do or not do. If I decide to give someone a set of stirrup leathers or a quality helmet I am not going to have my motives second-guessed.

    Comment


    • #3
      "being sued" is a broad term. It can mean anything from a person sending you one nasty lawyer letter to the person's insurance company coming after your insurance company for recompense on what they paid out, to a person actually retaining a lawyer and taking you to court.

      Lawyers will act for a projected share of the damages but they need to know that the damages will likely be large, collectible, and very likely. Lawyers don't take on unlikely cases, working on spec. And the amount it would cost up front to hire a lawyer puts frivolous civil lawsuits out of the reach of most of us.

      Sometimes individual people with no legal training will start proceedings that can have a real nuisance effect even if the individual is craycray and the thing never goes anywhere.

      Anyhow, out of all the "person tried to sue" gossip and hearsay most of it never goes beyond the nasty letter stage. Lawyers will exaggerate things in those letters even if they know client probably won't choose to follow through

      And if you really were so negligent that you did something that really did end in big awards of damages well, probably you earned that.

      Is why liability insurance and waivers on every thing.

      Comment


      • #4
        In all fairness to the world --I pretty much hired barn BOYS to work on the farm in the summer ---now I have a barn GIRL (second one). She works every bit as hard as the boys did ---so I don't care if the person who works for me is a boy or a girl --as long as the work gets done and they are reliable.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cat Tap View Post
          After reading some of the comments on that thread and considering today's climate on being PC I am glad I no longer run a riding school.

          I have always been very direct in stating my opinion. I never meant to hurt anyone's feelings but guess I did. I also had a student that was quite heavy. In this case it was an adult. Watching my horse struggle was the main concern and I had no qualms telling the person that he was too heavy for the horse. I did have several horses to choose from.

          I did worry at some point that it might be frowned upon my touching minor students when I patted their hind end to try have them move forward in the saddle or I took someone's thigh to move it into the right position.

          Then there was also the fear of being sued if there was an accident. I did try to tell the parents that no matter how careful we were there could be injuries. A friend of mine was sued because the child bit her lip when a horse spooked. She was told that she should not put a child on a horse that might spook.

          Another person was sued because her horse kicked a dog. She was told it was her duty to control the horse.

          Unfortunately most judges have absolutely no knowledge of horse behavior.
          The people I know who manage well (risk wise) run higher risk type programs. They DO NOT work to emphasize safety from the outset. It is not unusual for clients to fall off on the first lesson and decide that “ this program is not for me.” Let people know from day one that you run a “wild and wooly” program and let the clients sort themselves out. You know that old saying “quiet riders make spooky horses” well same goes for clients. Quiet, overly controlled training programs make for sheepish, risk averse clientele.
          "Friend" me !

          http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
            The people I know who manage well (risk wise) run higher risk type programs. They DO NOT work to emphasize safety from the outset. It is not unusual for clients to fall off on the first lesson and decide that “ this program is not for me.” Let people know from day one that you run a “wild and wooly” program and let the clients sort themselves out. You know that old saying “quiet riders make spooky horses” well same goes for clients. Quiet, overly controlled training programs make for sheepish, risk averse clientele.
            This is ridiculous.

            Safety should be first and foremost, as it always been.

            If your friends’ clients usually fall off on first ride... I’m sorry but they don’t know what they’re doing. It doesn’t seem fair to neither the riders or the horses.

            There is a middle ground between being overly protective and being openly negligent... And being knowingly negligent (to sort the clients) is a matter to be sued, for real.
            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

            Originally posted by LauraKY
            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
            HORSING mobile training app

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            • #7
              A good liability release is important. I also have a printed “Lesson Agreement” that riders and parents must sign. It covers barn rules and attitude expectations, but also has a significant section that explains that horses are very large prey animals and even well-trained horses can be unpredictable and cause injury. I like to go over that verbally with new clients as well. It won’t solve anything if you have a really sue-happy person (or if you are negligent) but I like to be very explicit about it.

              I also have a conversation with parents at the first lesson about touching. Basically to explain that physically moving a child’s leg, arm, whatever can be an important tool in learning position, and that I will also physically aid in mounting and dismounting as needed. If they aren’t comfortable with it, they can tell me then, and I won’t touch the child. I also ask every student (child or adult) before touching them (ie “may I move your leg”) as a common courtesy. Some people have a very good reason to not want to be touched, and that’s fine. FWIW, I have never had a parent object, and I only had one student who refused physical contact, a young adult on the spectrum.

              Comment


              • #8
                Back in my hunter days, trainer had some young kids of the short stirrup age/variety. There was a school large pony that was regularly used for lessons and periodically leased - he was great if you didn't lean at the jumps. If you did, well, probably you ended up in the dirt. Trainer made a bunch of kids better riders with this pony, and thankfully none of the kids ever got hurt other than their pride. Then there were a few who quit. But back then, not everyone was thinking lawsuit...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                  The people I know who manage well (risk wise) run higher risk type programs. They DO NOT work to emphasize safety from the outset. It is not unusual for clients to fall off on the first lesson and decide that “ this program is not for me.” Let people know from day one that you run a “wild and wooly” program and let the clients sort themselves out. You know that old saying “quiet riders make spooky horses” well same goes for clients. Quiet, overly controlled training programs make for sheepish, risk averse clientele.
                  This is a flabbergasting post. Professionals absolutely should emphasize safety. To not do so is irresponsible.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post

                    The people I know who manage well (risk wise) run higher risk type programs. They DO NOT work to emphasize safety from the outset. It is not unusual for clients to fall off on the first lesson and decide that “ this program is not for me.” Let people know from day one that you run a “wild and wooly” program and let the clients sort themselves out. You know that old saying “quiet riders make spooky horses” well same goes for clients. Quiet, overly controlled training programs make for sheepish, risk averse clientele.
                    I am also flabbergasted.

                    Always safety first and no it is not usual for a student to fall off in their first lesson. There is truth in the saying that it is the experienced sailor who drowns. It happens when experience takes shortcuts because of familiarity and do not put safety first.

                    I have never heard the saying that quiet riders make spooky horses. It is nervous riders that make spooky horses.
                    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And to think "back in my day" as a kid we'd bring baked goods to the stable after we fell off. No thoughts of a lawsuit or playing a blame game. The program I grew up in did emphasize safety, but also recognized unplanned dismounts were a reality of the sport. Paperwork was also signed by parents/guardians.

                      If I fell off, my parents just thought "well you probably screwed up, thusly you met the dirt" because I did come off due to my own stupidity every now and again, I'll admit.

                      My riding instructors would touch me for posture correction, no one thought a thing of it. It was a mixed crowd of men, women, and children. I suppose we were fortunate, but nothing nefarious happened there.

                      I've ridden with some clinicians, including one recently, that use these devices with earphones to speak to you during the clinic. They have to attach this small box device to your belt/pants waist/wherever. I was on my horse and the clinician asked me "may I touch you" before he helped me get this device and earphones all situated. It always catches me off guard, I don't know why. Maybe because I'm expecting this, and am ok with it, but I completely understand why he asks. As he should.

                      Some other things bug me a bit in the horse world. It is as if people forget these are animals and we don't have full control over them 24/7. Two horses were out together, as they were for a year or so, one kicked the other and slightly injured the horse. These horses had been together and always gotten along fine...no indicators or previous kicking and/or aggression. The owner wanted to sue/make the other owner liable. Blew my mind. I think there was a similar situation in a post on this board too.

                      But this is also why I carry a very good liability insurance policy on my animals.

                      I have no desire to work with children nowadays though. I taught for a few years before a total career change. I had no issues, but couldn't pay me enough to go back to that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Equisis View Post
                        A good liability release is important..
                        suggest you check with your insurance carrier and attorney as some states the release of a minor's wights is worthless

                        The Court found that pre-injury liability waivers between a for-profit entity and a parent on behalf of a minor child are against Kentucky law and unenforceable.
                        https://www.kentuckypersonalinjuryat...unenforceable/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post

                          The people I know who manage well (risk wise) run higher risk type programs. They DO NOT work to emphasize safety from the outset. It is not unusual for clients to fall off on the first lesson and decide that “ this program is not for me.” Let people know from day one that you run a “wild and wooly” program and let the clients sort themselves out. You know that old saying “quiet riders make spooky horses” well same goes for clients. Quiet, overly controlled training programs make for sheepish, risk averse clientele.
                          I get this.
                          Working around and/or riding horses can be a risky, dangerous undertaking. Of COURSE I'd never advocate for a non safe lesson experience (and I doubt IZS does either) but definitely YES to making sure people understand that horses can and will be dangerous is vital. No one wants a parent to be surprised when shit happens, as it def will if someone hangs around horses long enough. A student who suffers a broken cheekbone, broken toes, tendinitus in both elbows is a student who wants to be there. (and yeah those are a short list of my horse injuries in the first three years of horse ownership)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by clanter View Post

                            suggest you check with your insurance carrier and attorney as some states the release of a minor's wights is worthless



                            https://www.kentuckypersonalinjuryat...unenforceable/

                            interesting read. Without details, we can’t know if negligence was involved in these situations, and I would be wary to take information provided by what appears to be an ambulance chaser as the whole truth without doing some of my own fact checking. My liability insurance carrier does require me to submit all liability and consent forms each year upon renewal, and evaluates on a case-by-case basis based on state, as does my lawyer. I understand that there is no guaranteed protection, but I do feel confident that I have taken all reasonable steps to cover myself.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've also seen people sign liability waivers for kids that aren't their legal guardians. If it's not a custodial parent or guardian, then the waiver is totally useless. I think it was a Kentucky case where the trampoline park had a signed waiver by the parents for a minor, and the courts said it was useless for liability protection. Look at the Colorado cases where waivers by parents for medical procedures, liability for sports, etc. were held to be useless, and the second the child reached adult age, the lawsuits started.
                              Last edited by JanM; Nov. 18, 2019, 07:51 PM.
                              You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
                                This is a flabbergasting post. Professionals absolutely should emphasize safety. To not do so is irresponsible.
                                Safety is best emphasized by PROMOTING SKILL DEVELOPMENT. Gymnastics coaches provide soft landing areas but those kids still have to get out there, flip fly stretch and strain. Think one of the biggest issues we’ve got in the current horse industry is that people are so afraid to let clients do anything that client skill levels are horrendously low. That horrendously low skill level contributes more than anything else to retention, boredom and fear issues.

                                “ Kizzy and Etties Pony Adventures” (you must check them out on Facebook if you have not already) it’s doable (is spirit at least...)at all ages, not just five and six-year-old.
                                "Friend" me !

                                http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The parents sign the waiver, not the child. Once the child is an adult they can sue, no matter what waivers you have them sign.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think the fear of litigation and how that shapes your business practice is largely a function of where you live. There are many cultures (perhaps the majority of cultures?) where suing over personal injury is almost unheard of, except in cases of the most obvious gross negligence.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by BigMama1 View Post
                                      I think the fear of litigation and how that shapes your business practice is largely a function of where you live. There are many cultures (perhaps the majority of cultures?) where suing over personal injury is almost unheard of, except in cases of the most obvious gross negligence.
                                      Here in South Africa it is not a thing yet. I'm 37 years old and I do not know anyone or have even heard of any "friends of friends" who sued for personal injury. I'm sure it does happen in gross negligence scenarios though.

                                      I have liability cover on my horse, because he goes out and about to shows and outings. I've owned him for 9 years, and only activated it beginning of last year. Why? Because a showjumping friend was at a big show, with sponsored cars parked next to a throughway for horses. Her horse reared and flipped onto a car, and there was a big to-do about who was liable. She, who was in a designated horse area, or the morons who parked a car there. Activated mine the next day.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Where I am located, in Florida, I hear of lawsuits over some of the most frivolous things. Not sure if its more than other areas, but I certainly hear of them regularly.

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