Putting the equestrian business on a stable footing

Horse riders and all involved in the equestrian industry can benefit from a new service launched by Else Solicitors which has offices in Birmingham and Burton-on-Trent.

The equine law and safety division of Else Solicitors which operates nationwide has been set up by lawyer Kate Stubbs and health and safety consultant Lizz Fields-Pattinson.

Kate Stubbs said: “Horses are a very valuable commodity now and the equestrian industry is big business.

“But although horse people are very professional when it comes to looking after and bringing on their horses, the industry has tended to lag behind on legal and health and safety issues.

“Livery yard businesses and horse owners in general have in the past only consulted a solicitor when something has gone wrong, and health and safety issues have been something to which people have tended to turn a blind eye.

“It could be said that too often the tendency is to try and close the stable door after the horse has bolted!”

She said the new division was intended to be as much pre-emptive and advisory as a source of legal support in crisis or when disputes have arisen.

“Too much equestrian business has in the past been conducted on the basis of a handshake but it is difficult to prove what was agreed verbally in a law court when disputes arise,” she said.

“And the tendency in the horse business has been to think that health and safety regulations are so rigorous and overwhelming that if you pay regard to them then any equestrian business would become automatically unworkable overnight.

“This is not so, and nevertheless the equestrian industry is governed by the same rules that apply to other sectors of business – albeit it is accepted that there are inherent risks involved to a degree in handling and working with large and unpredictable animals such as horses.

“Ignorance of the law, far less wilfully ignoring it, is no defence and horse owners and equestrian professionals need to ensure that they start out on the right leg and continue to operate in a way that is legal and within the health and safety regulatory regime as it applies to their industry.”

She added that areas that often caused controversy and dispute included issues such as horse loan agreements and sale agreements when the terms are agreed verbally.

“A well written agreement, signed by both parties at the outset, can often help to clarify what is expected on both sides and avoid disputes arising in the first place,” she said.

Areas covered by Else Solicitors’ equine law division include drafting agreements and contracts to cover a wide range of situations from livery agreements to contracts for the sale or purchase of horses, dispute resolution services and advice on land use and property issues concerning the sale and purchase of agricultural and commercial land and premises, planning permissions and grazing arrangements.

Lizz Fields-Pattinson said: “Our health and safety service helps protect you, your property as well as your livelihood and employees. We will help you assess the risks associated with your operations such as fire, safety, work activities and accidents. We also advise on the running of an event to reduce the risks involved in this activity.”

Kate Stubbs said: “Our new equine law and health and safety advisory service is not about telling people what they can’t do, it is about helping both equestrian professionals and the weekend rider to stay within the law and try and pre-empt disputes before they arise.

“To that extent it is an advisory rather than a purely legal service.”

For a preliminary chat on all matters equestrian or in relation to health and safety issues, contact Kate Stubbs on kate.stubbs@elselaw.co.uk or call 01283 526200.

Ends (620 words)

For further information, please contact

Kate Stubbs, Head of Equine Law,

Else Solicitors, Gibraltar House, Crown Square, First Avenue, Centrum 100 Business Park, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire DE14 2WE

01283 526200


Else Solicitors, Aspect Court, 4 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5HG

0121 222 2602

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner of ASAP PR, 01527 892004, or mobile, 07990 978257.

Notes to Editors:

The firm was established by Chris Else in November 2003. Chris has over 25 years experience in the legal profession and working in the business community. He was joined by Andrew Hickman as a Partner in October 2007 who has in excess of 20 years experience in acting for the Construction Industry.

The firm currently employs 14 additional lawyers, many of whom have been recruited from leading law firms with the objective of bringing together a team of experienced advisers providing city advice at competitive rates for the benefit of UK based businesses and private clients.