Grazing agreements for horses

Allowing horse owners to graze their animals on your land can be one way of securing an income on underutilised pasture. Although many such arrangements are organised on a casual basis, it is worth considering whether a more formal approach would be more appropriate, not least to ensure that you do not inadvertently give rise to a tenancy which will affect your control over the land and prevent you from claiming BPS.

Anti-doping violations and the use of supplements in sport

Anti-doping, a recurring topic in the equestrian media, hit the headlines earlier this year when Jock Paget, a top New Zealand eventer, was stripped of his 2013 Burghley Horse Trials title after his horse, Clifton Promise, tested positive for a prohibited substance, reserpine (a sedative). Following an FEI Tribunal (the international governing body for equestrian sport), Jock was exonerated after it was determined that the supplement had been contaminated at source. The Tribunal accepted that he neither knew about the contamination nor was expected to do so. Although he did not regain his Burghley title, he was able to compete at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in August having avoided a potential two year ban.

Make sure your selection policies are crystal clear

For Olympic sports it must be a dream come true for those athletes selected to represent their country. By the same token, missing out on selection can be devastating and may well provoke athletes to challenge the selection decision and therefore their governing bodies’ selection policy. So how do National Governing Bodies make sure their selection policy is clear and fair?

Safeguarding children and adults at risk: are you compliant?

The requirements of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 are being changed by the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Many of the changes introduced by the PFA came into force on 10 September 2012. These include new vetting requirements for individuals who will be working with children and vulnerable adults. It is important that organisations understand and introduce measures to comply with the changes.

Transporting your horse: do you need an operator's licence?

Even our leisure activities do not escape the long arm of regulation. There are many horse owners who will be caught by various regulations when they transport their horses. People driving horseboxes with a gross plated weight (i.e. the maximum, permitted weight on the road) of over 3.5 tonnes – or an unladen weight of over 1525kg - for commercial purposes (which includes professional riders) fall within the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations and the Welfare of Animals during Transport Regulations and will need an operator's licence.

Transporting your horse: is your horsebox overloaded?

Horseboxes and towing vehicles driven on public roads are subject to legal weight restrictions. If a vehicle is found to be overloaded then the driver will be held liable and will have committed an offence even if they are not the owner. Roadside checks by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency have prevented riders from continuing on their journey when it has been discovered that their vehicle is overloaded. A vehicle is considered to be overloaded if its weight exceeds the gross vehicle weight as stated on the manufacturer’s plate.

Recovery of damages under the Animals Act 1971

The subject of compensation and liability has been a hot topic among those who earn their living from horses. Indeed, the perceived ‘compensation culture’ has been blamed for the hike in indemnity insurance for equestrian centres and held responsible for several riding schools going out of business. However, a recent decision by the Court of Appeal should go some way towards reassuring those involved with horses that, providing a common sense approach to managing risk is undertaken, claims against them for injury will not necessarily result in an automatic pay out.

What is the legal status of a horse?

As with all matters legal, a horse's legal status depends on the circumstances. They can be defined as goods, agricultural animals, a conveyance or food depending on the circumstances in which the definition is being sought.

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