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Have you got your contracts in place? The benefit of horse Livery contracts

A livery contract has many benefits and advantages for both the yard owner and livery client. Livery contracts look to protect and clarify the agreement to the benefit of both parties.

Our client Lisa Smith, Equine trainer, eventer and instructor from Valiant Sport Horses, guides us through the importance of having agreements in place for loans, livery and sales agreements.

Some of the benefits of having a contract in place

  • Provides clarity

    A contract should clearly set out the agreed services and costs for a client’s livery package. The contract should also outline the payment terms and due dates for payments. A contract should also address the process in the event of late payment, or debt following departure of the horse from the yard.

  • Provides a record

    A contract supports a formal record of the clients and the horses on the yard. It is advisable to have one contract per horse, not per owner, so important and specific information relating to each horse can be recorded.

  • Outlines notice period

    A contract should clearly set out the terms of notice that must be given if a livery client wishes to depart the yard. It is generally recommended that a notice period of 30 days is reasonable for both parties, along with a clause stating that in certain circumstances (such as behaviour deemed as gross misconduct- theft, failure to follow rules, negligence etc) a yard owner can give notice with immediate effect. To cover a notice period, it is advisable for yard owners to have clients pay their livery a month in advance and/ or pay an additional security deposit.

  • Helps clarify yard rules

    A contract is an effective way to clearly communicate to clients the terms of their livery and any specific rules at the yard and for clients to formally acknowledge and accept these rules by signing the contract.

  • Provides clarity around care of the horse

    A well drafted contract will make clear the responsibilities of the yard owner and the responsibilities of the horse owner. By being clear on the package the client has opted for, and the services included within that package, such can be useful where a party starts requesting additional services or not fulfilling their own yard duties and responsibilities, or claiming services are not being fulfilled.

  • Helps to recover cost of damages

    A contract can help clarify who is responsible for damage to the yard and will help mitigate against disputes that may arise.

  • Helps to protect profit

    For all-inclusive livery packages- such as full livery or schooling livery- a clear written agreement can help specify the amounts of feed, foliage, exercise etc. included within the standard livery fees and supports yard owner looking at reasonably increasing fees/charges for those who require above standard terms.

  • Helps to retain clients

    A good contract should help retain clients and have less turnaround of horses. If all livery clients know what to expect, and they agree to abide by the contract when they arrive there will be less disputes and, in the event, that any ‘issues’ arise these could be easily remedied by referring to the contract.

  • Helps to cover contingencies

    Outlining how matters will be handled in the event of e.g. veterinary emergencies or death of the horse, is important. A livery contract can support authority to carry out certain tasks on a basis of welfare for the horse, such as authorising emergency veterinary treatment in the absence of, or failure of being able to reach the horse owner.

  • Good practice

    The clarification of details within a contract can help deal swiftly with any problems, recoup any losses and keep good administrative records. As well as looking more professional, a contract also helps deter unscrupulous parties who do not want to sign a binding contract and do not intend to pay fees nor abide by the rules.

We are a Law Firm dedicated to the equestrian sector that can provide representation, advice and assistance on equine legal issues. Specialists legal team with in-depth understanding of the equestrian world, along with recognised legal skills and extensive experience. As well as being trusted legal experts, our specialist team has representatives that are passionate about horses, proudly ridden and worked for some of the leading names in show jumping and dressage, along with being devoted horse owners themselves.

How can we help? 

Key contact

Nicola Gonnella
Nicola Gonnella
Nicola Gonnella


+44 (0)141 375 0865 Email Nicola

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