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Responsibility for injuries to rest with riders

Equine Law - horse jumping

In what is likely to be a leading precedent for future compensation claims, the Court of Appeal has rejected a claim from a woman who incurred extensive facial injuries following a riding accident on someone else’s horse.

Goldsmith was trialling a horse when it bucked violently causing Goldsmith to fall.  The horse trod on her face during the fall crushing one side of it.

The Court of Appeal held on 27 February 2012 that Goldsmith had voluntarily accepted the risk that a horse might buck if startled and that she was due no damages.  The Court of Appeal commented that the injured person fully appreciated the general risk of riding the horse and could not claim compensation for injuries arising when that risk materialised.  Goldsmith had ridden the horse a couple of times before the accident with no problems so had effectively consented to the risk.

This case sets an important precedent as to which party should bear the burden of risk when someone rides another person’s horse.  It also highlights the importance for riders to have their own insurance cover for riding horses not their own.