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Appendix I--Sample Equine Liability Act (New Mexico)

The Legislature of the State of New Mexico, 41st. Legislature, 1st. Session, Laws 1993, chapter 117: Senate Judiciary Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 268, as amended, introduced by Senator Virgil Rhodes.

AN ACT, RELATING TO TORT LIABILITY; ENACTING THE EQUINE LIABILITY ACT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:

Section 1. SHORT TITLE. This act may be cited as the "Equine Liability Act".

Section 2. LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE AND FINDINGS. The legislature recognizes that persons who participate in or observe equine activities may incur injuries as a result of the numerous inherent risks involved in such activities. The legislature also finds that the state and its citizens derive numerous personal and economic benefits from such activities. It is the purpose of the legislature to encourage owners, trainers, operators and promoters to sponsor or engage in equine activities by providing that no person shall recover for injuries resulting from the risks related to the behavior of equine animals while engaged in any equine activities.

Section 3. DEFINITIONS. As used in the Equine Liability Act,

  1. "equine" means a horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny;

  2. "equine activities" means:

    1. equine shows, fairs, competitions, rodeos, gymkhana, performances or parades that involve any or all breeds of equines and any of the equine disciplines;

    2. training or teaching activities;

    3. boarding equines;

    4. riding an equine belonging to another whether or not the owner has received some monetary consideration or other thing of equivalent value for the use of the equine or is permitting a prospective purchaser of the equine to ride, inspect or evaluate the equine;

    5. rides, shows, clinics, trips, hunts or other equine occasions of any type, however informal or impromptu, connected with any equine or nonequine group or club;

    6. equine racing;

  3. "behavior of equine animals" means the propensity of an equine animal to kick, bite, shy, buck, stumble, bolt, rear, trample, be unpredictable or collide with other animals, objects or persons, and

  4. "rider" means a person, whether amateur or professional, who is engaged in an equine activity.

Section 4. LIMITATION ON LIABILITY.

  1. No person, corporation or partnership is liable for personal injuries to or for the death of a rider that may occur as a result of the behavior of equine animals while engaged in any equine activities.

  2. No person, corporation or partnership shall make any claim against, maintain any action against or recover from a rider, operator, owner, trainer or promoter for injury, loss or damage resulting from equine behavior unless the acts or omissions of the rider, owner, operator, trainer or promoter constitute negligence.

  3. Nothing in the Equine Liability Act shall be construed to prevent or limit the liability of the operator, owner, trainer or promoter of an equine activity who:

    1. provided the equipment or tack, and knew or should have known that the equipment or tack was faulty and an injury was the proximate result of the faulty condition of the equipment or tack;

    2. provided the equine and failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the rider to:
      1. engage safely in the equine activity;
      2. safely manage the particular equine based on the rider's representations of his ability;

    3. owns, leases, rents or otherwise is in lawful possession and control of the land or facilities upon which a rider sustained injuries because of a dangerous condition that was known to the operator, owner, trainer or promoter of the equine activity;

    4. committed an act or omission that constitutes conscious or reckless disregard for the safety of a rider and an injury was the proximate result of that act or omission; or

    5. intentionally injures a rider.

Section 5. POSTING OF NOTICE. Operators, owners, trainers and promoters of equine activities or equine facilities, including but not limited to stables, clubhouses, ponyride strings, fairs and arenas, and persons engaged in instructing or renting equine animals shall post clearly visible signs at one or more prominent locations that shall include a warning regarding the inherent risks of the equine activity and the limitations on liability of the operator, owner, trainer or promoter.

RELEASE STATEMENT - A release statement used by an operator, equine animal owner, property owner, trainer or promoter of equine activities should include the warning that there are inherent risks to participants and observers involved in all activities with equine animals due to the propensity of an equine animal to kick, bite, shy, buck, stumble, bolt, rear, trample, be unpredictable or collide with other animals, objects or persons. The statement should also include a warning that New Mexico state law provides that no person, corporation or partnership is liable for personal injuries to or for the death of a rider (or other participant) that may occur as a result of the behavior of equine animals while engaged in any equine activities, and that the rider (or other participant) agrees to engage in the equine activity at his own risk.

--This document is available at http://www.nmhorsecouncil.org/NMHC_Liability.html.


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