How to Ask for a Written Agreement from a Longtime Equestrian Friend

I read in an article this morning a lesson we can learn from frogs:

If you put a frog in a pan of water and turn on a low heat, the water will
eventually come to a boil. The frog won’t feel the gradual increase in
temperature and will stay in the pan and literally boil to death. If you toss
the frog into the pan after the water is already boiling, however, he will
immediately jump out.

I often see the client situation of those who have been in an equine relationship- a boarding barn, or with a trainer, or with a horse lease- that has been slowly disintegrating over time, little by little.

At some point one of the parties cannot handle the septic relationship any longer, attempts to break or kill the relationship (take back a leased horse, kick out a boarder, fire a student), and the manure hits the fan and legal action ensues.

 In this situation there are established emotions, and emotions in legal situations often lead to vindictiveness, sense of betrayal, and a desire to hurt the other person.  And a greater problem (from a legal standpoint) is that
  when relationships have built and evolved over time, there never seems to be a good time to ask for a written contract of the agreement, or you feel you can trust the other person without anything in writing 
("I've boarded my horse here for 10 years, how could you kick me out now?!).  It can be a little sticky- like asking for a pre-nuptial agreement when you've already been dating or engaged for 10 years.

Sometimes true! But some of our best friends are because they love horses as much as us.  Even if it is a longtime equestrian relationship, having your mutual agreement in writing is critical.

Even though it may be uncomfortable, putting in writing what you both already agree to is SO crucial in avoiding problems, or resolving them quickly when they arise.

So how do you bring a written agreement into an established relationship?
If you're nervous, put it on your lawyer- "my lawyer told me I have to have you read and sign this (likely true)" or put it on your insurance company- "my continued coverage requires I have you sign this Release of Liability (also likely true)."
Or say, "I know I haven't used contracts with anyone before, but my New Year Resolution is to operate my business/ my stable/ my training program more professionally/ with greater transparency/ more efficiently, and having written documents is part of achieving that resolution- please let me know if there are any other ways you think I can improve how things are run around here (asking for constructive feedback is always a good idea!)"

Don't be the frog that slowly boils to death, be the frog that can identify a potential or developing legal problem and either fix it, or leap away to safety.

*There has been a lot of legal discussion over copyright issues in Pinterest.  Do you have any thoughts? Are you a "pinner?"