Equine Law

Greetings from the Bluegrass State (a/k/a Kentucky)! I am in Lexington attending the 24th Annual National Conference on Equine Law. I am here earning my mandatory continuing legal education credits for the year. The conference is strategically scheduled to coincide with a little horse race that runs just “up the road” in Louisville on the first Saturday in May. Sipping a mint julep, I thought I’d share with y’all a little bit about equine law.

Some of you outside of big “horse” states (Kentucky, Florida, California, Texas to name just a few) might not consider equine law as its own legal specialty. However, over the past day and a half I’ve learned just how ingrained horses are into more traditional areas of the law with which we are more familiar. This conference began as many CLE seminars have: an annual case law update about “big” cases in the equine law field. Areas covered included: sales contracts; security interests; racing (a regulated industry in some states); personal injury; insurance; tax (yuck!); land use; civil procedure; and bailments. In fact, for one hour yesterday, I learned more than I ever needed to know about horse reproductive contracts (including the shipping of horse sperm). There was even a session on using trademarks for horses (as some of them have become rather famous).

A great resource I found for those of you interested in learning more about equine law is “Equine Law and Horsemanship Safety,” an online equine law research guide maintained by the University of Vermont (it looks like it’s updated through the end of 2007). Another great place to find equine-related publications is the University of Kentucky’s Office of Continuing Legal Education. UKCLE recruits experts in equine law to write practice materials (treatises and form books). Finally, if you are looking for a national expert who has written books on equine law, check out Julie Fershtman.

Because equine law touches so many other areas of law, my first year law students next year will be sure to see questions about equine law appear on their homework assignments!

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