Horses

New York Assembly Bill On Equine Safety Code Is Amended

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A barrel racer competes in the Coliseum at the New York State Fair on Sept. 4, 2017 in Geddes, N.Y. Credits: Michael J. Okoniewski-NYS Fair
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ALBANY, N.Y. — Assembly Bill A4366A was recently amended and sent back to committee. The bill would enact the "equine activity safety code act," provides that an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person, which shall include a corporation or partnership, shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, except under certain circumstances.

In the fall of 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law inherent risk reform for agri-tourism and equine businesses

This legislation establishes limited liability protections for the inherent risks of inviting the public onto a farming operation. Agricultural tourism and outdoor recreation activities that include horseback riding, u-pick Christmas trees and fruit orchards, along with tours of wineries and maple operations, all now have a new line of defense against frivolous lawsuits because of the new law. Until now, New York’s litigious environment had diminished the number of insurance carriers willing to cover these businesses, while dramatically increasing the cost of liability coverage. Many farmers have had to turn down opportunities to invite the public onto their farm because they could not find or afford the liability insurance necessary to host these opportunities in this state.

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Assembly Bill A4366A further defines the law as it applies to equine businesses . The bill, as amended, says equine professionals, activity sponsors, and businesses — including corporations — shall not be liable "for an injury to, or the death of, a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities." The exception is in cases of negligence: for example knowingly providing faulty tack or an unsuitable horse.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey adopted similar laws several years ago.

A4366A is not currently scheduled for a vote.

Full text of the bill can be found at https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/a4366/amendment/a

The cite includes a poll to support or not support the bill.

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