Equine Law

Downey Brand’s Equine Law Practice understands the complexities of the horse industry – from raising to racing and pleasure riding in between.

Many of our attorneys are immersed in the industry as horse owners and ranchers, and are keenly aware that horses are a way of life.  We understand the investment, both financially and emotionally, that people have with their horses, whether those horses are a Kentucky Derby hopeful, an eventer, or a trail riding companion. 

Downey Brand provides a wide range of services to our horse industry clients that is unmatched in the region and covers the spectrum of industry issues from environmental compliance for manure management and stormwater runoff from horse facilities to buying and selling horses and horse facilities, and from supply contract and land use disputes to succession planning.

Our comprehensive experience benefits the horse industry by providing specialists in a variety of legal areas, all which have an interest in horses, whether up close and hands on or from afar. Our attorneys have worked extensively at the federal, state and local levels, on issues that include:

  • Contract Disputes (breeding, boarding, sales and leases, insurance)
  • Employment Disputes
  • Estate and Succession Planning
  • Intellectual Property Protection and Trademarking
  • Land Use and Environmental Regulations
  • Lease and Real Estate Disputes
  • License Suspension and Revocation Hearings
  • Manure and Wastewater Regulation
  • Pesticide Regulations
  • Regulatory and Administrative Disputes, Including Writ Proceedings
  • Supply Contract Disputes
  • Water Supply and Water Rights

We understand that many of our horse-related clients are part of family-owned businesses and we work with them to address the particular issues of running and maintained a family owned enterprise, including estate planning and succession.  We also address the many business and litigation issues that arise in the horse world on a daily basis.

  • Litigation over breach of contract with mares leased for breeding, and breach of agreements for the sale for stallions.
  • Assisted a client that developed an equine feed supplement with general business advising and trademark, licensing, and sales agreement work. Then we assisted with the sale of the brand to a larger, national company, and helped dissolve the old business organizations.
  • Worked on a case where two registry organizations for Peruvian Paso Horses agreed to merge, but a dissenting faction within one of the groups refused to transfer the records to the newly merged organization.  Downey Brand successfully forced a turn-over of the records with a writ of possession.
  • Assisted a client with her case involving purchased frozen semen from a world class horse in France.  The vet who she engaged to perform the procedure on her mare mixed up the semen and used the wrong semen for the procedure.  The resulting foal was not what was expected and the vet was unable to locate the remaining semen to attempt the procedure again. 
  • Assisted a large equestrian facility located next to an industrial site that as part of a site investigation detected PCBs and copper that turned out to have come from recycled wire insulation used for stadium footing (a substitute for or addition to sand in the rings, instead of dirt, sawdust or ground tire footing).  Assisted with contracting for the removal of the material and issues regarding potential impacts in the drainages downhill.
  • Review and drafting of pre-purchase, boarding, and sale agreements for horses and horse facilities.
3 Attorneys

M. Max Steinheimer


Stockton 209.472.3926 direct

Sacramento 916.444.1000 direct

Dale A. Stern


Sacramento (916) 520-5250 direct

Stan O. Van Vleck


Sacramento 916.520.5440 direct

Nevada 775.329.5900 direct

Press Releases

1 related items