The Golf Cart: Friend or Foe at a show?

Golf carts: an equine competitor's best friend
{Photo from Sonoma Charity show: view the rest of my photos here}

Horse shows are typically held on very large facilities, and many competitors and trainers bring bicycles, vespas, and golf carts to make it easier to get from arena to arena to schooling ring to barn to show office to bathrooms to car to trailer to RV and back to the arena over the course of 2 days to 2 weeks of showing.

A not-so fun fact: there are a growing number of lawsuits filed against golf cart owners for injuries sustained at a horse show!

One suit in particular resulted because a minor driver took the cart and was goofing around, struck another minor who was on foot, and seriously injured him.  The parents of the injured child brought suit.

Another example is when a horse backed into a golf cart and the horse owner alleged the golf cart driver was to blame for the horse's injuries.

Golf carts and vespas do at times perilously weave around horses, can get too close, get in the way, or cause a spook.  And while it should not be permitted, at times minors and un-licensed drivers get behind the golf cart wheel.  Just because you are on private property you are not relieved of vehicle owner or driver responsibility.  If you loan your golf cart to someone who then causes injury, you could be liable for negligent entrustment of your cart, and for the damages arising from the injury.

One horse show mom that I know purchased liability insurance on her golf cart as a part of her other insurance policy.  It costs her just $75 per year and provides protection in case her minor daughter takes the cart without permission and causes damage, or if a horse owner alleges the cart caused injury to his or her horse.  Even if you follow a strict policy of responsible golf cart ownership, the low cost of insurance seems it would be well worth the peace of mind just in case your cart wheels into the center of legal controversy.

Can you spot them all? One, two, three, four, five, six!
Without even intending, I captured the dominating presence of golf carts at a show!
{Photo from Menlo Charity show: view the rest of my photos here}

my word, this is post #100!


Stacey said...

One thing that really irritates me is seeing people pony a couple horses off the back of a golf cart. That's just asking for something to happen. Of course there was a person on the other end of the leads, they were not tied to the cart itself, but still...not the brightest idea.

Wolfie said...

I have only been to a couple of "big" horse competitions, but the only people I recall on golf carts were people who were actually working at the shows. I can't believe that people believe that they need a cart to get them back and forth! Are the competitions you are talking about that spread out??

Congratulations on #100. :-)

Corinna said...

Wolfie, I guess in California maybe the show grounds are a bit more sprawled out? It can be tough on the legs to walk to all the different places you have to go, especially if you're in tall boots, especially over a period of a long show. My trainer for example has to get between hunter and jumper rings, and back to the barn for her own horses (though she tends to ride a bike rather than use a golf cart). Competitors and trainers bring personal golf carts, and some are over. the. top., such as mini golf cart limos that can seat 6 people or more!

Jay Stewart said...

I think the insurance thing was a nice touch. Although it would be better to not allow them to get behind the wheel in the first place, especially since these events tend to be crowded. As for driving too close and spooking the horse, that can be quite a concern. Though I don’t think it should be a problem unless the cart driver was deliberately spooking the horse by honking the horn or bumping into them, however lightly it may be.

Jay | A Plus Carts