Equine Law

The Dutch equestrian sector has grown enormously over the last decade. The Netherlands is internationally renowned for high-quality horse breeding and equestrian sports. This makes it an attractive place for (foreign) buyers. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the trade in horses accounts for a turnover of between 1.5 and 2 billion euros annually. However, an increased awareness amongst individuals of their rights as buyers has also led to an increase in the number of disputes and court cases in the Netherlands that involve horses.

While Equine law is still considered a niche in the legal field, it is increasingly gaining ground at both national and international level. Equine law relates to all aspects of horses, horse-related activities and industries, horse businesses, horse organisations, and horse facilities.

Did you purchase a horse with a hidden defect? Or do you want to sell your horse? Or are you, as owner and/or seller, ordered to take a horse back that you recently sold? Are you liable for damage caused by your horse? Do you need information on the permits that are required to keep horses, build a stable or an indoor/outdoor riding arena or do you need advice on specific export instructions or Dutch - or European regulations rules applicable to the export of horses? Our experts can provide you with an answer to all those questions.

The purchase of a horse often involves a substantial financial commitment and it is therefore in your interests to minimize your risk and seek professional legal advice and get advice from a veterinarian before committing to the purchase of a horse. Experience shows that good extrajudicial negotiations can often prevent or resolve a lot of problems. When this proves impossible, we can of course assist you in legal proceedings.

Our experts deal with many topics directly related to the equine sport, such as:

  • Drawing up and assessing contracts including purchase, lease, training, storage contracts etc.;
  • Providing advice and assistance to clients in litigation relating to the purchase and sale of horses;
  • Legal analysis of veterinary reports involving the purchase and sale of horses;
  • Import-export matters;
  • Liability (not only with regard to damage to / or by the horse, but also with regard to the organisation of events or whenever a veterinarian, farrier or equine dentist is engaged);
  • Equestrian business operation;
  • Assisting veterinarians with legal matters;
  • Sponsorship and doping;

We are extremely well-versed in the terminology and highly knowledgeable about the specific culture of those active in the equine sport, be it at a professional or amateur level. This familiarity with the sport, including the legal knowledge and experience of the veterinary aspects of this field are necessary in order to properly advise and guide clients involved in these activities.

You can rely on a multidisciplinary team of legal specialists who not only share your affinity with equestrian sports and have the required specialist knowledge; they also stay continuously up to date on the latest developments in the field of (international) equine law.

Across the border – International Equine Law

In view of the success of Dutch horse breeding, it is not surprising that Dutch top sport horses are very popular abroad. The sale and export of horses abroad has increased considerably in recent years. But what should you as a seller pay attention to when you sell abroad? How does the transport abroad work? Which judge has jurisdiction in case of a conflict? Which law applies?

You can also count on the expertise of Yspeert for international equine issues. Our equine lawyers have extensive international experience and work closely with reputable partner offices abroad.

Your first point of contact:

Martin Ueffing

Martin, who grew up in Germany, studied European and International Law at Maastricht University and subsequently completed his Master's degree in Criminal Law, Criminology and Forensics cum laude. Martin holds a second Master's degree in English private law from Oxford Brooks University in London. He previously worked as a legal advisor at a law firm and a debt collection agency. Martin specialises in equestrian law and corporate law.