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Teaching Riding Lessons and Insurance

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  • #21
    Originally posted by walktrot View Post
    The BO's insurance paid out a $15,000 settlement to a rider who was on a horse at the walk when a piece of leather tack broke. The rider fell, not hard, and got up with no injuries. She was wearing a helmet. The barn was liable because it was broken tack. Tack is something humans do, not the horse, so you are liable.
    I was taking a lesson one time and noticed that the stirrup leather was almost worn through and looked like it could break, and OMG, they couldn't get me off that horse fast enough so they could replace the leather. And then they inspected every other saddle on every horse in the lesson, and then instructed the barn staff to go inspect all the lesson horse tack.

    OTOH, I was at a trail ride one time and someone put a borrowed kid's saddle on a horse and I noticed that the latigo strap was iffy. Mentioned it to the father, and what does he do but go over and tighten the cinch.

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      Spinoff question brought up by a comment -

      Do I need the same type of insurance coverage to have friends come ride with me (ETA: same type of coverage as if I were teaching lessons)? The only person that has ridden my horses besides my immediate family is my cousin. But I have talked to friends about coming out. I'm not charging them anything. Would a release cover me at all?

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      • #23
        If you are teaching lessons you need an instructors' policy.

        If you are teaching lessons on your property, on your horses, you also should have a commercial policy.

        If you are ONLY having friends over on your personal property to ride with you, you should consult your insurance agent to confirm your coverage, but generally that would be covered by either your homeowner's policy (depends), an umbrella policy, and/or a horse owners personal liability policy. I would also recommend doing a written/signed release that reflects your state law.

        Many people are very cautious about loaning horses to friends exactly because of the liability issue. It's an unfortunate reality that we face.

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        • #24
          Talk to your insurance company, but with my State Farm policy in Iowa, my homeowner's insurance covers liability for guests who may be injured by my horses. Because a horse-related injury has the potential to be catastrophic, we added extra liability coverage amount through a rider

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          • #25
            With all this in mind, even having insurance does not prevent you from being sued and there being a trickle down effect. A trainer had training horses at an outside barn. Owner lived out of state. Horse was for sale, person came to try horse. Barn owner's dog that was loose scared horse, person fell, got back on and rode other horses. Almost a year later, sued trainer and property owner for "injuries". Trainer's insurance talked him into settling and taking responsibility. After settlement, barn owner sued trainer, horse owner and their insurance for their out of pocket expenses. So it is a clown car of a mess. I feel bad for the owner who simply shipped horses to be trained and sold and put care and responsibility of horses to trainer, now they are facing this crap. This all despite the state equine liability laws and waivers signed, etc.
            "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"

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            • #26
              NJRider that's wild! It absolutely blew my mind how few farms had me sign waivers during this round of horse shopping. I sat on 35+ horses split between 27 barns. Of those 27 barns only 3 had me sign a waiver. Most of these barns were large training barns where you would think those practices would be standardized.

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                I wanted to give an update for anyone interested.

                I'm moving forward with getting firm quotes from a few of the insurance companies I talked with. I've set my goal for how much income I need to cover the insurance and other start up costs with also covering taxes at the end of the year and still making a profit to help cover horse expenses. My plan is to teach for the year and see if I'm able to meet that goal and get an idea of what my horses can handle, if there is demand for my program, etc.

                I live in a rural area but close to town and the interstate. We have one lesson program in the area not as close to town but close to the high school. I've met the owner and she has a successful program and she's a great horsewoman. Her focus is on showing in the pleasure circuit, she does the big pinto and quarter horse circuits. I would be offering a program focused on beginners, the relationship with the horse, and in the hunter/jumper discipline. So I don't feel like we are competitors, more complimentary. However I don't know if there is much demand or interest in English and jumping. I figure I will give it a shot and see how this year goes. If things go well I plan to start investing any profit in the farm and facilities.

                I have met a few people in the past few years that I have lived here asking if I knew of anywhere for their kids to ride (after telling them I love horses). So I'm hoping there are more out there interested!

                I welcome any advice!

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                • #28
                  Don't go without specialized insurance for riding instructors unless you are prepared to lose everything you own in case of an accident. Also, start an LLC and have only those assets you can afford to lose under that. Have the LLC rent the part of your property that is horse business related.

                  Regular farm/home insurance companies won't cover riding lessons. Pls get specialized insurance, have signed releases, and adjust your lesson rates accordingly.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                    Talk to your insurance company, but with my State Farm policy in Iowa, my homeowner's insurance covers liability for guests who may be injured by my horses. Because a horse-related injury has the potential to be catastrophic, we added extra liability coverage amount through a rider
                    My state has a Horseman's Council. A membership offers a personal (not professional) umbrella policy for $20 extra $1 Million Equine Excess Personal Liability Insurance.
                    The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

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