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Horse Law

Australian Harness Racing Leads the World in Welfare Reform

February 2017

Harness Racing Australia is banning the use of whips to urge horses to the finish line from 1 September, 2017 in a world-leading equine welfare initiative that improves the industry’s image and enhances its sustainability. The decision sets the pace in animal welfare, and for the long-term support and sustainability of the industry. It also aligns with high expectations of the community, fans, and industry participants in harness racing. The announcement makes Australia the first country in the world to voluntarily take such meaningful action.

Hendra Vaccination and Liability Issues

December 2013

It is unfortunate that the danger and effects of Hendra Virus are so well known after many tragic losses of both horses and humans. Following the development of the vaccination, some event operators, associations and venue operators have insisted that competing horses be vaccinated as a condition of being allowed to compete. The following article briefly examines the issue of compulsory vaccination and provides some simple answers to important questions relevant to horse owners, competitors, volunteers, event operators, venue owners and spectators alike.

Are You at Risk?

November 2015

We all know that horses are unpredictable animals and, if you own or are in charge of horses, you will be held liable for their actions. If you have other peoples’ horses on your property, you could also be held responsible for them. If you provide services or hire out facilities to clients, you have a professional responsibility to carry out these duties diligently.

Breeding Your Mare? 5 Legal Issues You Need to Know

September 2015

The sharp rise in the number of horse owners breeding their own mares to advertised stallions and the development of new breeding technologies has made it easier than ever to realise the dream of breeding your own foal.  However, there are a number of highly complex legal issues to consider and, sadly, disputes are increasingly common without the protection and careful consideration of a Stallion Service Agreement. Here are the five most common legal issues you should know ahead of this breeding season to ensure you, your mare and the prospect of a happy, healthy foal are protected...

Defamation in the Age of Social Media

July 2015

As a barrister who specialises in media law, I am increasingly confronted in practice with matters involving the publication of defamatory material on social media sites such as FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram. The age of the Internet and the advent of social media has made many people more aware of the laws of defamation, but many users continue to post materials which could potentially lead them into a very expensive legal battle.

Are You Liable?

May 2015

Whether you are an owner, trainer, vet, farrier or rider, as a participant in the equine industry there is no doubt that you would have heard of, or probably even personally experienced, close calls or unfortunate accidents or events.  Potential sources of liability 

Fitton Horse Insure

May 2015

Arranging insurance can be overwhelming for horse owners. Do I need loss of use? Can I cover my breeding stock? How do I know if my horse is fully protected? Horses and People speak with the experts at Fitton Insurance Brokers to help you decode the insurance conundrums and find out more about how you can get peace of mind…  What is the most basic policy and what does it cover? 

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

March 2015

DISCLAIMER: At the time of going to print Equestrian Australia revoked the by-law on Hendra vaccination. To read the latest on this issue, please visit:

Managing Risk Around Horses

October 2014

Safe Work Australia has released a new guide outlining risk management around horses - an important guide to those in the horse industry. Ross Donaldson from CBP Lawyers explains the new guidelines.  In June this year, Safe Work Australia (SFA), a statutory agency comprising representatives of commonwealth and the state governments, unions and businesses issued the following guidelines: ‘Guide to managing risks when new and inexperienced persons interact with horses’. 

Vet Check

May 2014

Are you buying a horse or considering buying a horse? If so, you have no doubt considered whether or not you should engage a veterinarian to conduct a pre-purchase examination of the horse. A pre-purchase examination is more commonly referred to as a ‘vet check’. This article will briefly examine the benefits of obtaining a vet check.  What is a vet check? 


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