Sad State of the World

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Reading about insurance is about as much fun as going to the dentist. But when you think about not having enough money to replace your dead horse (mortality insurance, September issue) or to pay for a procedure your ill horse needs (major medical, October), it changes things just a bit. But why do liability' You can't be sued, can you' Just because you own equine ?attractive nuisances? and have money (aren?t all horse people rich'!), doesn't everyone know horses can be dangerous' Yes, yes and no.

Just a few weeks ago, I looked out my office door and noticed a woman with a toddler approaching our pasture fence, calling to our horses.? I shouted to her, politely asking her to leave, which she did, but I wasn?t happy I had to do it. I'm sure she didn't mean to cause any problems.

The incident was particularly annoying because we're in the process of replacing our perimeter fence. Someone actually removed a portion of it (we don't know who did it, exactly when, or why).? That property-line fence marks our land but, most importantly, it stops people from interacting with our horses. The pasture fence is set in about 15 feet from the boundary fence. The two fences actually form a wonderful lane for riding and walking the dogs, which I love, but the real purpose is to make the horses less ?accessible.?

Why wouldn?t I let the woman and child pet our horses' Because horses can bite. And kick. Even a flick of a tail, swishing away a fly, could strike the child in the eye. Would we be sued for that scratch or a nip' I don't know, and I don't want to find out either.

What's sad, though, is that my parents didn't live like this. When I was a child, there were incidents on the farm that probably would have resulted in a lawsuit today: a friend?s horse spent the night on our farm and got entangled in a portion of the fence and required stitches; a friend fell while riding and ended up with a broken arm; the horses got out and destroyed a yard.

Each problem was handled privately, but would that be the case today' Maybe. Maybe not. The people involved were friends?nice, intelligent people. But ?nice? can disappear quickly when they meet a hungry attorney who tells them they have a case.

So, we're careful about who is allowed to ride or visit our horses. it's a sad way to live, really, as horses are such magnificent, beautiful creatures and many people are drawn to them. But I don't want to lose them either.

Cynthia Foley,?Editor-in-Chief