(03) 9720 2922

Jansen Walsh & Grace


What we do

For several years we have provided advice and assistance on a wide range of equine and equestrian issues to riders, trainers and owners in Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, such as:

•   Agistment
•   Appeals from the Racing Tribunal
•   Artificial insemination of broodmare agreements
•   Banned substance hearings before the Racing Tribunal
•   Breeding contracts
•   Bridleways
•   Buying and selling horses (including purchases in Europe, New Zealand, etc)
•   Dressage training contracts
•   Equestrian community (form of property development)
•   Eventing agreements
•   Failure to disclose vices
•   Horse breeding contracts
•   Jockey contracts
•   Joint ownership agreements
•   Livery agreements
•   Livery yard leases
•   Longeing pen (or round yard) construction contracts
•   Managed investment schemes involving interests in horses
•   Manège construction contracts
•   Mews construction contracts
•   Professional negligence claims
•   Purchase of veterinary practice
•   Racing syndicate agreements
•   Recovery of veterinary fees
•   Rider disciplinary hearings before the Racing Tribunal
•   Sale of racehorse by auction or private treaty
•   Sale of semen agreements
•   Sale of veterinary practice
•   Service agreements for veterinary practices
•   Spelling service agreements
•   Stables construction contracts
•   Stallion service contracts for live cover
•   Stud leases
•   Stud stock frozen embryo agreements
•   Training contracts
•   Welfare of horses

Our advice on 'The Lowdown of Leasing' is featured in the August/September 2019 issue of Hoofbeats magazine.  "Leasing a horse can be beneficial for the horse’s owner and the leasee, however it’s important that both parties are clear about the many potential issues."

The evidence in a recent case in the Supreme Court of New South Wales established that horses, including those which might normally give the appearance of being placid, are prone to being frightened or ‘spooked’ by any number of external stimuli. Such stimuli may include loud noises, such as a PA system in a showground, and the movement from other horses.   Even horses which are said to be conditioned to the type of stimuli which might occur at a showground can react unexpectedly.  In short, there is no such thing as a ‘bomb proof horse’. 

Kerrie, who was an experienced horsewoman, had competed on Sonny in about five stock horse classes in the Wagga Wagga Show.  Sonny was a fairly placid horse.  Kerrie was in the warm-up area with Sonny.  Some children at the show had created a noise by banging their heels on the metal sign on the outside fence of the greyhound track.  This spooked Banjo, another horse.  Sonny reacted.  He fell to the ground, causing serious injuries to Kerrie.  Before entering the competition, Kerrie had signed some forms which are routinely provided at agricultural shows.  One of these forms warned of the risk.  Kerrie sued the Wagga Wagga Show Society.  She lost.  On 20 May 2019, the Supreme Court of New South Wales gave judgment for the Wagga Wagga Show Society.

This case is a reminder to competitors that all horses, no matter how placid, can be spooked and cause serious injury.  It is also a reminder that you should take out your own horse insurance and not rely upon the insurance cover by the organisers.

Our advice on 'Where there's a will: What happens to your horse' is featured in the April/May 2019 issue of Hoofbeats magazine.

"You care deeply for your horse and ensure their every need is provided for, but what would happen in the event of your death?  It’s a good idea to consider what could happen and if plans should be put in place for their on-going care and your wishes."

What happens to your horse when you separate from your spouse or partner?
This firm's Equine Team is featured on page 45 of June/July 2018 issue of Hoofbeats magazine: 'Divorce, but what happens to your horses?'  We give the example of what Johnny Depp and Amber Heard did about their horse when they divorced and what the Family Court has said in disputes between separating spouses and partners about their horses.

Buying your horse

We come across a lot of horses which were bought on Facebook.  Here are five simple rules you should follow.

1.  Don't purchase a horse sight unseen based only on sweet photos or a video on Facebook.  Dishonest horse dealers can edit their video clips easily.

2.  Be clear about what type of horse you can ride.

3.  Don't say you are an experienced rider if you aren't or, as one person did, say you are experienced with handling brumbies when you aren't.

4.  The contract should be in writing: vendor's name, your name, price and any conditions (it can be handwritten).

5.  Get a vet check before you buy or, at least, a sale subject to a satisfactory vet check!

Small claims
Many of our claims involving horses are heard  in the Civil Claims List of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.  On 29 May 2018 an amendment to the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 received the Royal Assent to increase a “small claim” from $10,000 to $15,000.  It comes into effect on a date to be proclaimed.  This will increase the number of claims involving horses which can be heard as small claims in the the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.  For a recent case where we successfully assisted a young horsewoman to win her case, see Henderson v McAuliffe [2017] VCAT 2119.

Increases in fines
The fines under sections 25, 25A and 25B of the Impounding of Livestock Act 1994 increase on 19 June 2018.  These relate to offences under that Act relating to horses and other livestock.

Racing syndicates
The agreements for standard racing syndicates are well-drafted documents.

However, we frequently see agreements for racing syndicates which are promoted on the internet which are targeted at the unsophisticated general public.  They usually feature a horse without much racing history and the horses are to be raced on small provincial racecourses.  While the agreements are quite detailed, they are avoided by sophisticated investors.  Why?

While no trainer can guarantee that a young horse will win a single race, these agreements are very unfair because they contain two features which, by their nature, make them a bad investment.  You should examine the agreement before you sign, or ask us to look at them before you part with your money.

Family Law
Who owns the horse and the float after you and your spouse or partner break up?  We can clarify who gets the horse when you separate with a binding financial agreement.

Victorian Racing Tribunal
The Racing Victoria, Harness Racing Victoria and the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board is being replaced by a single Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT).  The Act also provides for the powers of the VRT to hear and determine a matter, and limits the right of appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to an appeal on a penalty imposed by the VRT.

Project Hope Australia
Project Hope Australia rescues neglected horses.  Both our principal and our consultant have either been active in or supported Project Hope since the early 1980s.  Our consultant has worked for Project Hope rescuing horses and was mentioned by name by Derryn Hinch on his radio program.  We encourage everyone to support its work. Click on the logo for a link.  We continue to provide advice to Project Hope about neglected horses

Most of the disputes we receive each week involve disputes between landowners and horse owners over the terms of agistment agreements or involve a horse which has been recently purchased and has a vice or where a horse owner has sold her horse and the buyer is demanding a refund.  Our average fee for most of these is $395 including GST.  It depends on what you want done.  Unless you have an account with us or are a regular client, we usually require payment on account or credit card details.   We will provide you with a fixed fee before we start work so you know where you stand.

Our experience

Our consultant has ridden as a track rider of horses which won races at Flemington and other Melbourne and provincial races.  She rescued other owners' horses in the "Ash Wednesday" bushfires on 16 February 1983 and, again, in the "Black Saturday" bushfires on 7 February 2009.  Our principal has provided advice in this area over many years, including appearing in the Supreme Court on behalf of a stablemaker on an appeal by the owners. The stablemaker was ultimately successful.

We have also assisted purchasers in successfully recovering compensation for defective horses in the Civil Claims List of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

We provide advice and assistance on a wide range of equine and equestrian issues to riders, trainers and owners in the Yarra Ranges (Coldstream, Hoddles Creek, Woori Yallock, Gruyere, Macclesfield, Seville, Mt Evelyn, Wonga Park, Christmas Hills, Seville, Steels Creek, Yarra Glen, Yea, Yering), Outer Eastern Melbourne (Lilydale, Wonga Park, Emerald, Gembrook) and South-Eastern Melbourne (Berwick, Cranbourne, Pakenham), such as: