Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural and Resource Economics

Committee Chair

Dennis K. Smith.


In an effort to protect equine professionals, horse owners, and equestrian participants from liability associated with injury, 45 of 50 states have enacted Equine Activity Statutes. Many of these statutes vary widely with regard to the individuals and types of activities that are afforded protection. Under most state laws there are many requirements for horse owners and equine professionals regarding disclosure of dangerous behaviors in the horse, past medical problems, soundness issues, and other types of risks to potential buyers and handlers. Facility operators and owners are also required to make reasonable efforts to repair dangerous equipment and/or warn visitors of potential hazards on or around the facility grounds. Most people involved in equestrian activities are familiar with waivers and liability release forms; however some are not viewed favorably by the courts. This paper compares and contrasts WV equine laws to similar laws in other states that address liability, duties of horse owners and professionals, and the use of waivers as a means of liability protection. Recommendations for the WV Equine Activity Statute and educational curriculum are made based on the findings of this research and on the input of WV horse owners through a survey.