No horse is completely safe. Horseback riding is the sole sport involving one smaller, weaker predator animal attempting to impose its will upon--and become a single unit of movement with--a much larger, stronger animal with a mind of its own. A frightened or provoked horse may divert from its training and follow natural survival instincts instead, including stopping short, changing direction suddenly, shifting speeds at will, bucking, rearing, biting, kicking or running.
Prior to signing any hold harmless agreement or release of liability, provide participants with a written list of inherent risks. Signers agree that they are voluntarily taking part in the specified equine activity and assume full responsibility for their own safety. This responsibility encompasses themselves and their property while in the arena, in transit to and from the arena, and all other times associated with the event.
According to Texas law, Chapter 87 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, equine activity sponsors, professionals or show participants are not liable for damages, injury or death resulting from inherent risks associated with equine activities. This law releases liability for the unpredictability of equine animals' reaction to sound, sudden movements or unfamiliar surroundings. The participant cannot hold the event or sponsors responsible for hazardous conditions, negligent acts and failure of other participants to maintain control over their animals.
Activity Risk Classification
Riders know that riding is classified as a rugged adventure recreational sport activity with numerous risks, whether obvious or not. Despite all safety precautions, inherent risks are ever-present. Injuries sustained during horse activities can be severe, require prolonged hospital stays or result in long-lasting residual effects.
Riders understand that mounting a horse and taking up the reins leaves them in primary control of the horse. A rider's safety depends on his ability to stay calm, follow instructions and remain balanced aboard the animal. With this knowledge, the rider takes responsibility for his own safety. While physicians often recommend that expecting mothers not ride horses, a pregnant rider also accepts full responsibility for the safety of her unborn child.
Horseback riders acknowledge that saddle girths may loosen during a ride. They accept responsibility for checking the saddle and girth prior to riding. Riders carry the burden of holding accident or medical insurance to cover any charges incurred due to injury. Protective headgear meeting or exceeding quality standards set forth by the SEI Certified ASTM Standard is provided at the rider’s expense and worn at all times riding or being near horses.
Riders cannot hold the facility liable and releases the facility from all claims, demands, causes of action and legal liability due to ordinary negligence or misconduct. The facility is released of economic losses resulting from bodily injury, death and property damage.
Participants, or legal guardians of participants under the age of 18 years, acknowledge by signature they have read and understand the entire agreement. By signature, participants recognize they have surrendered substantial rights freely and voluntarily.