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Protecting Your Equine Operation


For nearly 100 years, Southern States® has helped our customers grow their equine businesses and horses by providing expert advice, services and products. To help protect these equine operations now and in the future, Southern States has partnered with Nationwide® Agribusiness to provide essential information on risk management, insurance protection and other farming operation best practices. Do you know if your current insurance policy covers all risks and liabilities associated with running your boarding, training or breeding business?

Farmers have unique needs when it comes to insurance policies for their farming operations. Add horses to the equation and specific policy add-ons should be considered including: fire and theft; care, custody and control; and commercial liability. Care, custody and control insurance protects those who board or train horses or are responsible for other people's horses while breeding, racing or showing them. This endorsement covers the death, injury or theft of horses under your care, custody or control.

When you enter the horse business a whole host of liability concerns exist within every paddock, stall and acre of your property. Luckily, 44 states have adopted some form of the Equine Activities Liability Act (EALA). The EALA provides some measure of liability protection to equine professionals and stable operators, with a few exceptions. Generally speaking, EALA makes equine professionals and facility operators not liable for injury or death of an equestrian participant if their death or injury resulted from the inherent risks associated with equine activity. If a participant is made aware of these risks and still decides to take part in the activity anyway, they assume the risk of possible injury. Each state varies in the level of protection provided under EALA. Make sure you are aware of the signage and written release requirements specific to your state to ensure you are protected by EALA.

Two other liabilities to be aware of are pollution and livestock in the roadway. As the average 1,000 pound horse produces eight and a half tons of manure a year, a proper manure management plan will help limit your pollution liability. However, pollution isn't the most common claim filed by farm owners. According to Nationwide Agribusiness, the most frequent liability claim for farm owners involves incidents caused by their livestock escaping from their property and ending up on roadways. Take precautions to ensure your horses stay confined to your farm by fencing the entire area and conducting routine fence inspections.

A barn fire is a horse owner's worst nightmare. In addition to supplementing your insurance policy, you can also protect your equine business endeavor by implement the following fire safety precautions and plans:

  • Safely Store Hay - If possible store hay and other bedding materials in a separate, well ventilated building. If this is not possible, use a firewall to separate this potentially flammable material from your horses.
  • Keep Hay & Bedding Dry - Wet, hot hay encourages the risk of spontaneous combustion. Only store dry hay and bedding.
  • Keep It Clean - A clean barn and aisles enable a quick evacuation should the need arise. Additionally cobwebs, hay and other debris strewn about your barn can become fire hazards.
  • Use Safe Wiring Practices - Not only should you make sure wiring is properly installed, schedule routine checks to verify the wiring is in good shape and free of dust and debris. Try to limit the use of extension cords. When necessary use only heavy-duty cords.
  • Fan Safety - Limit fan usage to hours when people are in the barn. Only use fans designed for agricultural use. Make sure you install them properly, keeping cords out of horses' reach.
  • No Smoking - No ifs, ands or cigarette butts. It only takes one tossed cigarette butt to spark a fire.
  • Be Prepared - Keep fire extinguishers on hand in several locations throughout your farm. Have an evacuation plan in place and conduct periodic evacuation drills. Make sure halters and lead ropes are on every stall to speed up evacuation.

Have any questions on how to protect your horses and business? Your local Southern States store can point you in the right direction to make your barn as safe as possible. Nationwide Agribusiness can assist you will all your insurance policy needs. To learn more, visit southernstatesnwag.com.


Nationwide has expanded their equine coverage to include an option to endorse Riding Instructor Liability. They have been offering coverage for the boarding, breeding and training of horses, so it seemed natural to take the next step in offering coverage for those who also do riding instruction.


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