Through your education, you acquire the fundamentals of farriery. You work a lifetime to hone your craft. And although you entered this profession for the good of the horse, there is a business side to this profession. One component of the business is dealing with the legal issues that may arise in your practice.
This article can’t cover them all, and it may take you a lifetime to appreciate them. But, here are five important, basic legal principles that a new farrier must understand before launching a practice.
Malpractice is something that most people associate with doctors, lawyers and other professionals. But, the earliest malpractice legal case arose in 1441, referred to as “Marshall’s Case” in England. It involved a farrier who so negligently treated and carelessly applied medicines that a horse died. Early American cases involving farrier malpractice can be found in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Simply put by the American Heritage Dictionary, “malpractice” means improper or unethical conduct by the holder of a professional position. It has a specific legal meaning that most Americans, thanks to prime-time television, can appreciate:
Do you need to fetch the horse before you work with it? If so, you’ve assumed a legal responsibility even before you pick up a foot.
“[The] failure to provide professional services with the skill usually exhibited by responsible and careful members of the profession, resulting in injury, loss or damage to the party contracting those services.”