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Once per month, this blog will share my insights on the facinating world of the horse business.
Although I will not be taking comments on this blog, your feedback is welcome - email link

Past Cases of the Month are available at this link

The current Case of the Month is available at this link

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January 2017
The following is super important so pay attention!

The necessity of counting on a specific term in describing the ability of a person to be a horse appraiser is important. Because we often hear that a person is “certified” does not mean anything more than that person has achieved a certain status within a specific company.

That appraiser is then “certified” within that company and nowhere else. That appraiser is then authorized to create a “certified” appraisal after achieving the necessary “qualifications” in performing a horse appraisal and has been given “certified” status from a specific company, group or association.

Qualification means that the horse appraiser possesses the fundamental abilities coupled with background which would make that person eligible to become certified in performing a horse appraisal. That person in all likelihood could create appraisals “certified” by the specific group or company because they possessed the qualifications necessary to evaluate a specific breed.

That “certification” from the group should apply to the specific horse breed and discipline. As an example, North American Equine Services, NAES, grants “certified” status to horse appraisals which encompass the largest and most complete array of specifics applicable to the subject horse.

Certification comes from the company and the appraiser is “qualified” which is no mean feat owing to the number of important areas covered and, where possible, the largest number of specifics available. In addition, because there is a great deal of subjective evaluation involved, the appraiser needs to have a solid and broad range of practical horse experience as possible.

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February 2017
It’s hopefully clear to the avid readers of this column, about the many cases NAES has handled for many years. Since 2003 I’ve tried to explain some of the factors which would be of interest to stable owners. Of course, the amazing thing is the many cases which are not typical of what one would think is the “typical” horse related case.

The fact is that there really never is the “standard” horse case. However, in times of a changing economy there is always the instance where the horse’s owner cannot afford to pay the board bill.

To possibly help out in what may be items of help to you the stable owner, I’ll list things which have almost always been successful in making your “deadbeat” customer case easier on you and your pocketbook:

Always have a written boarding contract and having the help of your family lawyer can help to.

On the contract, make sure the prospective boarder lists stables where their horse was previously stabled. The new boarder needs to put all possible contact information and the name of their veterinarian plus a clause specifically stating they are responsible for all reimbursement for their horse’s health care.

Some stables ask the new client to sign over ownership of the horse in case of large dollar amounts owing would enable the animal could be signed over to the stable owner. (However, I know lots of horse owners who would never allow the stable owner to have the possibility of owning their horse).

Just a piece of advice that’s sure to help is to always be polite and never raise your voice or get visibly upset. The reason is that the errant boarder always knows you’re upset so they will always be somewhat surprised by your peaceful nature. Plus, since you probably won’t get paid anyway, it may help to at least get something.

I always explain to folks running boarding operations that in all likelihood they won’t get paid and to prevent any legal action from the boarder, (who will now claim their prize horse was injured at your barn), always have your vet come out and perform a health certificate saying the horse is not sick or hurt at all. Such a statement from a licensed vet may go a long way in proving to the horse owner and a court of law that the horse is just fine.

Then, and most important, get the deadbeat boarder to remove the horse. Even if they plead that they’re broke, he name of their veterinarian plus etc, etc. you need to move the horse because the longer the horse is at your place the more likely it is for something bad to happen to the horse….and guess who gets to pay those vet bills.

Make sure all your boarders have mortality insurance on each horse they own. God forbid a horrible accident causes the death of your charges. Naturally, it’s always to get with your insurance broker and get Care, Custody and Control insurance so you’re covered.

Every month or so I’ll try and include more comments regarding things you need to aware of to run your horse business more effectively.

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March 2017
Several years ago I was asked to review a case concerning a young horse show exhibitor who accidentally drove a golf cart into an adult walking across the show grounds. It needs to be stressed that horse show rules restrict the use of any motorized vehicle to licensed drivers only.

Through the years so many spectators and exhibitors have been injured after being struck by young and unlicensed drivers. The problem had been brought up repeatedly at annual AHSA/USEF conventions and finally enough folks complained loudly enough to warrant a significant rule change.

Accidents continue to happen but there has been a marked decline in the number of driving accidents involving under-age drivers.

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April 2017
I was recently asked to provide testimony regarding the abilities of a young but proficient rider. She had been asked to ride the owner’s horse at a year end show. During the show the young rider fell breaking her pelvis and suffering other wounds. While the fall and subsequent injuries were not caused by anything the horse or its owner did, the young rider sued the horse’s owner.

This is exactly why it is so important to have proper insurance covering any of your horse related activities.

At the trial, I was asked to explain the abilities I saw in the young rider. I carefully explained that the young woman was extremely competent and was well qualified to ride the owner’s horse and because the requirements of the class were not large she had been well qualified to perform.

The young woman’s attorney’s tried to explain that the horse’s owner had taken advantage of her inabilities to ride the horse. However, they were not able convince the jury resulting in our client, the horse’s owner winning.

The lesson to be learned is to always maintain insurance since even the cost of trial work is very expensive, so even the win cost my client thousands of dollars.


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