MISSISSIPPI ADVANCE LEGISLATIVE SERVICE
1994 REGULAR SESSION
CHAPTER NO. 443
1994 Miss. LAS 443; 1994 Miss. Laws 443; 1994 Miss. H.B. 96
SYNOPSIS: AN ACT TO PROVIDE CERTAIN IMMUNITY FOR EQUINE ACTIVITIES AND FOR THE PERSONS ENGAGED IN EQUINE ACTIVITIES; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO SPECIFY THE EXTENT OF IMMUNITY PROVIDED UNDER THIS ACT; TO SPECIFY ACTIVITIES WHICH ARE NOT IMMUNE; TO REQUIRE THE POSTING OF WARNINGS RELATING TO EQUINE ACTIVITY IMMUNITY; TO AMEND SECTION 95-9-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Legislature recognizes that persons who participate in equine activities may incur injuries as a result of the risks involved in such activities. The Legislature also finds that the state and its citizens derive numerous economic and personal benefits from such activities. The Legislature finds, determines and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety. It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to encourage equine activities by limiting the civil liability of those involved in such activities.
SECTION 2. As used in this act, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) “Engages in an equine activity” means riding, training, providing or assisting in providing medical treatment of, driving, or being a passenger upon an equine, whether mounted or unmounted, or any person assisting a participant or show management. The term “engages in equine activity” does not include being a spectator at an equine activity, except in cases where the spectator places himself in an unauthorized area and in immediate proximity to the equine activity.
(b) “Equine” means a horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny.
(c) “Equine activity” means:
(i) Equine shows, fairs, competitions, performances or parades that involve any or all breeds of equines and any of the equine disciplines, including, but not limited to, dressage, hunter and jumper horse shows, grand prix jumping, three-day events, combined training, rodeos, driving, pulling, cutting, polo, steeplechasing, English and Western performance riding, endurance trail riding, western games and hunting.
(ii) Equine training or teaching activities, or both.
(iii) Boarding equines.
(iv) Riding, inspecting, or evaluating an equine belonging to another, whether or not the owner has received some monetary consideration or other thing of value for the use of the equine or is permitting a perspective purchaser of the equine to ride, inspect or evaluate the equine.
(v) Rides, trips, hunts, or other equine activities of any type however informal or impromptu that are sponsored by an equine activity sponsor.
(vi) Placing or replacing horseshoes on an equine.
(vii) Examining or administering medical treatment to an equine by a veterinarian.
(d) “Equine activity sponsor” means an individual, group, club, partnership or corporation, whether or not the sponsor is operating for profit or nonprofit, which sponsors, organizes or provides the facilities for an equine activity, including, but not limited to, pony clubs, 4-H clubs, hunt clubs, riding clubs, school and college sponsored classes, programs, and operators, instructors, and promoters of equine facilities, including, but not limited to, stables, clubhouses, pony ride strings, fairs and arenas at which the activity is held.
(e) “Equine professional” means a person engaged for compensation in:
(i) Instructing a participant or renting to a participant, an equine for the purpose of riding, driving or being a passenger upon the equine.
(ii) Renting equipment or tack to a participant.
(iii) Examining or administering medical treatment to an equine as a veterinarian.
(f) “Inherent risks of equine activities” means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of equine activities, including, but not limited to:
(i) The propensity of an equine to behave in ways that may result in injury, harm or death to persons on or around them.
(ii) The unpredictability of an equine’s reaction to such things as sounds, sudden movement and unfamiliar objects, persons or other animals.
(iii) Certain hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions.
(iv) Collisions with other equines or objects.
(v) The potential of a participant to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, such as failing to maintain control over the animal or not acting within his or her ability.
(g) “Participant” means any person, whether amateur or professional, who engages in an equine activity, whether or not a fee is paid to participate in the equine activity.
SECTION 3. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person, which shall include a corporation or partnership, shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities and, except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a participant’s representative shall not make any claim against, or recover from an equine professional, or any other person for injury, loss, damage or death of the participant resulting from any of the inherent risks of equine activities.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall prevent or limit the liability of an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional or any other person if the equine activity sponsor, equine professional or person:
(a) (i) Provided the equipment or tack and knew or should have known that the equipment or tack was faulty, and such equipment or tack was faulty to the extent that it did cause the injury.
(ii) Provided the equine and failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the equine activity and to safely manage the particular equine based on the participant’s representations of his ability.
(b) Owns, leases, rents or otherwise is in lawful possession and control of the land or facilities upon which the participant sustained injuries because of a dangerous latent condition which was known or should have been known to the equine activity sponsor, equine professional or person, and for which warning signs have not been conspicuously posted.
(c) Commits an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, and that act or omission caused the injury.
(d) Intentionally injures the participant.
(3) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall prevent or limit the liability of an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional under liability provisions as set forth in products liability laws.
SECTION 4. (1) Every equine activity sponsor and every equine professional shall post and maintain signs which contain the warning notice specified in subsection (2) of this section. Such signs shall be placed in a clearly visible location on or near stables, corrals or arenas where the equine activity sponsor or the equine professional conducts equine activities. The warning notice specified in subsection (2) of this section shall appear on the sign in black letters, with each letter to be a minimum of one (1) inch in height. Every written contract entered into by an equine professional or by an equine activity sponsor for the providing of professional services, instruction or the rental of equipment or tack, or an equine participant, whether or not the contract involves equine activities on or off the location or site of the equine activity sponsor’s or the equine professional’s business, shall contain in clearly readable print the warning notice specified in subsection (2) of this section.
(2) The signs and contracts described in subsection (1) of this section shall contain the following warning notice:
|Under Mississippi law, an equine activity or equine sponsor is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in equine activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, pursuant to this act.|
(3) Failure to comply with the requirements concerning warning signs and notices provided in this section shall prevent an equine activity sponsor or equine professional from invoking the privileges of immunity provided by this act.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1994.
Approved MARCH 21, 1994