Training of Horses Is Agriculture.

The plaintiff worked for an equestrian center as its barn manager.  The equestrian center operated on 200 acres and provided riding lessons, horse training and riding facilities with riding lessons being the center's predominant activity.  The plaintiff performed general maintenance work and other necessary daily tasks to prepare horses for riding privately and for camps.  While training a race horse, the plaintiff fell from a horse and was injured.  The center did not carry workers' compensation insurance, having been advised it was exempt from coverage based on the statutory exemption for "[a]ny person employed in agriculture" contained in Ky. Rev. Stat. Sec. 342.650(5).  For purposes of that provision, Ky. Rev. Stat. Sec. 342.0011(18) defined "agriculture" as the "operation of farm premises, including the planting, cultivation, producing, growing, harvesting, and preparation for market or agricultural or horticultural commodities thereon, the raising of livestock for food products and for racing purposes,...and any work performed as an incident to or in conjunction with the farm operations...."  An Administrative Law Judge dismissed the plaintiff's claim and the Workers' Compensation Board affirmed.  On appeal, the court affirmed.  The court noted that a prior decision of the court had held that "raising" of race horses included the boarding of the horses and that there is no distinction based on whether the employer owned the horses or they were owned by other persons.  The court also noted that the KY Supreme Court had held that the ag exemption included conditioning or exercising of race horses after they had been sold or released to racing but had returned to the farm for rehabilitative purposes.  As to the facts of this case, the court stated that, "the feeding, housing, caring for, and training of horses in a farm setting is agricultural in nature."  Horses used at an equestrian center, the court determined, were the same as the raising of livestock for racing purposes.  Thus, "training" of horses constitutes "agriculture" for purposes of the ag exemption from workers' compensation.  In addition, the court's opinion, means that the raising of livestock for purposes other than food or racing constitutes "agriculture" for workers' compensation purposes.  Hanawalt v. Brown, et al., No. 2014-CA-000744-WC, 2015 Ky. App. 36 (Ky. Ct. App. Mar. 13, 2015). 

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