Tag Archives: Leone Equestrian Law

Can a Minor Drive a Golf Cart at a Horse Show?

By Leone Equestrian Law

Q: We are planning to rent a golf cart during an upcoming horse show in Florida. What are some things we need to keep in mind? Can my 14-year-old daughter drive the cart, even though she doesn’t have a driver’s license yet?

Answer: The first thing to know is that each state has its own rules regarding the age requirements for driving a golf cart. As a result, what may be considered an acceptable age in one place could be illegal in another. This is why it is important to always check the rules and regulations if you are considering letting a minor drive a golf cart.

In most states (including Florida), a child has to be at least 14 years of age to be able to drive a golf cart. In other places such as Texas, the driver has to be around 16 years old. Then there are states such as California and South Carolina that allow children to drive golf carts at the age of 13.

It’s also important to know what Florida defines as a golf cart versus an LSV (low-speed vehicle). According to its statute, Florida defines an LSV as a four-wheeled electric vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 mph, but less than 25 mph. The minute that golf cart exceeds speeds of 20 mph, it becomes an LSV and is subject to a different set of rules. In Florida, low-speed vehicles are considered motor vehicles and are required to be titled, registered, and insured with Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Liability coverage in order to be operated on Florida streets and highways, while golf carts in Florida are not required to be insured (although insurance, even on golf carts, is highly recommended).

Also, any person operating an LSV must have a valid driver’s license in their immediate possession. Be aware that your daughter may be able to drive the golf cart, but not an LSV — make sure you know which one you’re renting!

So, even though a golf cart driver is not required by Florida law to be a licensed driver, it is nonetheless a good idea. In addition to being of age, drivers are also required to know the rules of the road and how to safely operate such a vehicle.

Now that you know your 14-year-old daughter can legally operate a golf cart in Florida, but not an LSV, you should also be aware of liability concerns and consider if it is worth the risk if she damages property or injures someone.

Click here to read more about this topic as well as safety tips when driving a golf cart.

Visit www.equestriancounsel.com to learn more or email info@equestriancounsel.com with inquiries.

Does Lunging Someone Else’s Horse Put Your Amateur Status at Risk?

By Leone Equestrian Law

Question: I work as a groom, but I also compete myself in the amateur jumpers. I occasionally lunge horses for other clients, but I was just told that this revokes my amateur status as lunging is considered training! Is it true that just lunging a horse could revoke or put my amateur status at risk?

Answer: It may not be the answer that you want to hear, but this is true. In your situation, lunging other people’s horses does violate your amateur status – but it may not violate the amateur status of, say, your friend at the barn. Here’s why:

While your friend could lunge your horse for you as a favor with no ramification, because you are likely being compensated for your work as groom, including for the lunging of horses, you would be found in violation of U.S. Equestrian rule book rule GR1306, a.k.a. the infamous “amateur rule.”

Let’s delve a little bit deeper.

The rule states:

“3. Permitted activities by Amateur. An Amateur is permitted to do the following:

h. Accept remuneration for providing service in one’s capacity as a: clinic manager or organizer (so long as they are not performing the activities of instructor or trainer), presenter or panelist at a Federation licensed officials’ clinic, competition manager, competition secretary, judge, steward, technical delegate, course designer, announcer, TV commentator, veterinarian, groom, farrier, tack shop operator, breeder, or boarder, or horse transporter.”

You’ll see that groom is included in the list of roles which an amateur can receive remuneration for without risking their amateur status, so you may think you are in the clear. However, the rule also reads:

“…a person is a professional if after his/her 18th birthday he/she does any of the following:

a. Accepts remuneration AND rides, exercises, drives, shows, trains, assists in training, schools, or conducts clinics or seminars.”

Because lunging is considered exercising, and could also be considered training in some circumstances, it does violate the rule.

You can review the amateur status rules in full here.

Anytime that you appear to be paid for exercising, riding, or training horses, you put your amateur status at risk. By being aware of the purpose and intent of the amateur rule, you can likely avoid running into problems with amateur status.

Whoever Stands with George Should Sit Down and Shut Up, While the USEF Needs to Stand Up and Speak Out

by Armand Leone

Sexual abuse of minors by an adult has no place in our sport. Failing to acknowledge the problems in our past guarantees that problems will continue. Regardless of how extraordinary George Morris was as a horse trainer, his abuse of young boys was unconscionable and deserves condemnation without reservation.

The recommendation of SafeSport to suspend Mr. Morris was followed by an independent arbitrator’s upholding the suspension after a full evidentiary hearing – that should be the end of the discussion. Unfortunately, it is not. Some in our equestrian community still “stand with George” and blame his victims. It is now time for these deniers to sit down and shut up.

Read More Here

Visit www.equestriancounsel.com to learn more or email info@equestriancounsel.com with inquiries.