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About this document
This document is suitable for any livery business. It protects the yard owner as strongly as possible, without being objectionable to the client.
It is written as a business tool that you can use for every client. It confirms your terms and their instructions. It compels a client to tell you basic facts about the horse and to disclose any vice. In a word, it enables you to plan and manage more efficiently.
Disclaimers also include cover for situation when you are asked to ride a client’s horse on your land or anywhere else.
You can also use the contract to explain how the yard works and to set down your practical rules and expectations.
The British Horse Society (BHS) publishes what they call "an example of a livery contract which could be used as a basis upon which to draw up an agreement". To be fair to the BHS, they do not suggest that it is a good version for you to use as is. We say unequivocally that it is unsuitable for you for two good reasons.
First, the legalistic wording adds unnecessary complexity to the document without any benefit. It makes it harder for your clients to be happy signing.
Second, and more importantly, the BHS contract is sponsored by the British Equine Vets Association, the ILPH and the RSPCA. The entire document is slanted towards care of the horse and legal protection of the horse owner and not the yard owner.
These welfare organisations are trying to nudge yard owners into doing things properly. We have no problem with that agenda. The ILPH is based just up the road from Net Lawman and we admire their work greatly. But the aim of the ILPH is to protect horses, whereas the aim of Net Lawman is to protect our clients and customers. We think that it is devious and disingenuous to give the equestrian world a draft livery agreement which is actually quite unsuitable for yard owners.
The BHS does provide very useful "guidelines for a livery contract" which is effectively a memory jogger for matters to include. We have included those points so far as it is in your interest to do so but we have not included matters which we believe might restrict you excessively.
The law behind this document
A license is not required to operate a livery yard, and therefore anyone with spare stabling could offer livery.
The law in this contract is common law, so you can make the deal that fits both parties best. Either you can edit the agreement to be your terms and conditions (and use the same version for all customers) or you could edit this contract for each horse or pony you take. Of course we take it for granted that you are aware of equine welfare issues, but they do not impact directly on your contract with your owners.
A good, readable contract provides a marker to your efficiency just as much as a tidy yard and contented horses. We advise that you should edit the document to exactly what you want, then print copies out ready to give to potential clients.
This agreement is suitable where a full livery service is provided. We also offer one for DIY livery where the owner of the horse or pony is responsible for a much greater proportion of care.
- Responsibilities and obligations of parties
- Compliance with yard rules
- Use of additional facilities such as cross-country course
- Fees and expenses, including failure to pay fees
- Care of horse including veterinary call-out
- Schedule of service and prices
- Schedule of facilities provided
- Schedule of yard procedures
This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.
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