Equestrian agreements

These documents are written by a solicitor who has trained and bred horses for much of his life. They cover not only the standard legal matters you would expect, but also practical points that are often neglected by lawyers who do not have equestrian experience. Our use of plain English makes these templates easy to edit into an agreement that will not intimidate the other side.


Horse loan agreement

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Use this agreement to loan an equine for any purpose, including for competition, casual recreational riding and breeding.

Using a formal written document may seem unnecessary between friends, but it is in the interests of both parties, the long-term friendship and the horse.

Because each party knows what is expected, disagreements should be minimised and the equine should be looked after as the owner wishes.

It covers far more practical issues than the BHS version and provides stronger legal protection. The contents include:

  • responsibilities of rider for care and maintenance including the condition of the animal, tack and supplies
  • risk and insurance: sets out which party is responsible
  • warranties (promises) relating to the condition and the history of the horse
  • condition of the loan that rider shall compete (optional)
  • special provisions for brood mares (optional)
  • the supply to the owner of documents and record of achievement

The document can be used whether the loan is for free or for a payment

This document could be used to loan:

  • an equine to be ridden for a specific purpose such as training, competition experience, or conditioning
  • a brood mare to take a foal
  • an equine to be ridden for recreation

Horse lease agreement

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This document template covers both the lease of a horse for eventing or jumping or a pony for showing. It is a comprehensive, flexible document for both long and short term periods. The document primarily protects the interest of the owner but fairly treats the borrower.

Horse training agreement

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This agreement is your route to happier clients and less worry about what might go wrong.

Without the terms of training written down, it is likely that at some point you will disagree with a client about exactly what level of service you are providing and what he should reasonably expect from you.

In particular, it covers you against expectations of faster progress than is possible, claims of deterioration in your care, and repair costs for damage caused by a client’s equine.

This document has been designed to be used by a professional horseman-trainer working with clients’ horses at his own yard or establishment.

There may be specialism in: backing young horses, remedial training, bringing on inexperienced equines, or training lessons for the owner.

The agreement is also suitable if you are taking a friend's equine as a one-off favour for a few months.

The document includes:

  • optional, full provisions for livery and rider training
  • obligations of the horse owner, including to disclose vices
  • disclaimers, including for the situation when you are asked to ride a client’s horse on your land

Stallion service agreement

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This is an agreement for use by any stallion owner as his standard terms.

It covers arrangements where a mare is liveried with a stallion for live service, or where a mare is artificially inseminated on a stallion owner's premises.

Generally it sets appropriate expectations between the two parties so as to minimise disputes over the terms of the deal, and limits the liability of the stallion owner.

Although drawn primarily to protect a stallion owner, this agreement sets out matters important to the mare owner as well. It is likely to be acceptable to both parties without much editing.

The document covers:

  • for the mare owner to provide full information about the mare against firm warranties
  • livery arrangements
  • a live foal guarantee and terms for free return (repeat service in case of failure to become pregnant)
  • an option for a veterinary check on the mare's fertility if she does not become pregnant after the first “season”
  • details of the stallion and owner warranties
  • reservation
  • sale of semen and payment arrangements
  • service certificate
  • veterinary call out
  • disclaimers and limitation of liability

Horse care agreement

This agreement records how a retired or injured horse or pony will be looked after on a long term basis by someone other than the owner.

The owner initially loans the equine to the carer for the agreed purposes at no cost. The carer assumes all responsibility for the care of the equine and pays all costs (such as farriery and veterinary charges).

Ownership passes to the carer after a given period if neither party terminates the agreement before that date. This allows the owner to become confident in the quality of care provided before abandoning the horse to the carer completely.


Using this document prevents worry and confusion over the terms of the loan and, in particular, makes clear who pays for what outgoings.

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Written in plain English

We avoid legal terminology unless necessary. Plain English makes our documents easy to understand, easy to edit and more likely to be accepted.

Guidance notes included

You don’t need legal knowledge to use our documents. We explain what to edit and how in the guidance notes included at the end of the document.

Support from our legal team

Email us with questions about editing your document. Use our Lawyer Assist service if you’d like our legal team to check your document will do as you intend.

Up to date with the latest law

Our documents comply with the latest relevant law. Our lawyers regularly review how new law affects each document in our library.

Documents that cover a wide range of equestrian arrangements

Equestrian legal documents are one of our specialties. The writer of these documents has ridden for many years and has bought and sold many equines for recreational use, to back and sell on, and for the family-run stud. The document is carefully considered to include practical matters as well as legal issues.

The documents, although varied, contain common elements, such as standards of care and disclosure of vices.

Why you should use an agreement to record your arrangement

Using a legal agreement might seem overly formal when you are dealing with someone who is also passionate about equestrianism, and perhaps who is a friend.

But just as in any business arrangement, an informal agreement can lead to numerous problems later. Without having the deal in writing, there may be confusion as to who agreed to pay vet bills, what level of service was agreed, or even to whom the equine actually belongs. Arguments can be time consuming, expensive and can cause worry. They can also end friendships.

If you use one of these agreements, the terms are clear and agreed, so there is far less likely to be any misunderstanding. The risk of conflict is also drastically reduced because each side knows what he or she has committed to and that a court claim will follow if he or she ignores that.

A good, readable contract provides a marker to your efficiency just as much as a tidy yard and happy animals.

Use of plain English will remove any worry from your clients that they need are signing a document that they need a solicitor to check before signing.

Whatever agreement you choose, remember that there is a strong psychological advantage in you being the party who presents the first draft document to sign or for discussion. You have the opportunity to frame the deal in your terms. This applies of course to any situation where a legal document is required.

Matters related to care of your horse

You may take it for granted that arrangements for care and management are covered very thoroughly. Each agreement contains different arrangements according to what is reasonably required. Here are some examples:

  • feed and exercise
  • use of third party professionals such as a vet or farrier
  • who pays for damage caused by horse
  • insurance: what is covered and who pays
  • obligations of the owner
  • safety on and off the yard

Livery agreements

You can use our livery agreements to explain how the yard works and to set down your practical rules and expectations. Yard procedures are given at the end of the document, and you can edit these to your exact requirement.

You can use one of these agreements as a hand-out for each client to sign and exchange parts with you or you can present a client with a draft and agree to negotiate each as a special deal.

It is not enough to post a copy on the wall of your tack room. That is useful as a reminder but it will not be binding. You need a signature.

These agreements are drawn primarily to protect the yard owner but the tone and content are intended to avoid offence by a client. However, as you read it, you may decide to soften some of the strictest suggestions we have made. You can easily change anything that does not suit exactly what you want.


Many horsemen simply agree to a training deal casually under the assumption that the owner will turn up from time to time for lessons on her ever-improving horse. It is easily done. But that leaves you open to numerous potential problems. Without the terms of training written down, it is likely that at some point you will disagree with your client about exactly what they should reasonably expect from you.

For example, you will want to know about:

  • the present stage of the education of the horse or pony
  • whether the real purpose re-training
  • if it is for backing, how far will the process be taken
  • whether the work be driven by a target outcome, or simple by a number of weeks
  • whether the work includes rider training as well

We suggest you write the precise terms into a schedule to the agreement.

Sharing arrangements

Before you sign up to a sharing agreement, it is important to sit down and talk over each item. These agreements are not drawn to favour one side over the other. There will be small practical points you will decide to add, for example, one person might not want to deal with a farrier, or it may be important that one of you has access on Wednesday afternoons for a riding club attendance.

Consider the areas where something may go wrong with the proposal or your relationship and ask “What would we do if . . .” Those issues must be covered in the way you want.

Sharing ownership of a sport horse has advantages for both the rider a backer. It can give a rider a financial or motivational incentive to perform, and it can reduce the upkeep costs and the responsibility of the backer.

The aim of our sharing agreement for a competing horse or pony is to set out not only a record of ownership, but of agreed responsibility: for management, care and competitions. With it, backers will find that they aren't just a never-ending source of finance.

BHS documents

The British Horse Society (BHS) publishes two documents: what they call "an example of a Livery Contract which could be used as a basis upon which to draw up an agreement" and an agreement for loaning an equine to someone else.

We think that the BHS documents fall far from the mark. The reasons are that the agreements are sponsored by the British Equine Vets Association, the ILPH and the RSPCA.

The documents are more about setting standards of care for the equine than the legal protection of humans party to the contract. They do not cover many legal or practical matters except relating to care.  

While we think that it is beneficial to animal welfare and equestrianism that these organisations are trying to nudge owners into doing things in ways that they think best, it is disappointing that the model contracts the BHS publishes don’t provide adequate legal protection for their members.

We admire the work of the ILPH, but their aim is to protect equines. Their constitution is not relevant to the average yard owner. The RSPCA now has a political agenda. As for the BEVA, we simply fail to understand the relevance of a third party contract to their membership. Horses need their professional help in every equestrian sphere. A legal contract to which their vet member is not even a party, cannot affect that.

Matters relating to sale

When buying an horse or pony, the old phrase "buyer beware" applies. Unlike many other transactions, you have no statutory legal protection (unless you buy from a dealer). A horse may seem sound when you view it, only to show problems shortly after you take it home.

After all, it is only natural to want to show an equine in a good condition or talk up its achievements, both to maximise the price and to increase the chance of a sale. The seller may not intentionally be trying to dupe you, but it is all too easy to include bute in feed the day before you view it or say that the equine is a good competition jumper when in fact it has only jumped in the neighbour's arena. In short, few equines are perfect and there are ways of hiding problems that a seller won't be inclined to tell you about.

A vet's report will give you some assurance that the equine is medically sound, but you shouldn't rely on a report alone. Vets can make mistakes, particularly since they are only looking at the equine at a point in time, and are unlikely to know about historical injuries. Of course, a vet cannot tell you anything about the horse's temperament, ability or suitability for you.

Using warranties

No agreement can mend a broken horse. But both parties to a contract can benefit from warranties by the other of them. A warranty is a promise about some fact or state or future action. If it turns out that a warranty was untrue, the agreement is breached and one party can claim from the other.

If you are the seller then you may prefer to use an agreement drawn primarily to protect you. The Net Lawman version here still protects both parties, but prefers your interest. Presenting your agreement allows you to set the terms and warranties.

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