Taking a horse out for a hack from a riding stables should be a pleasurable experience. For many riders who cannot afford to keep a horse of their own this may be the only opportunity they have of riding in our countryside. Occasionally things go wrong. Horses are unpredictable creatures and sometimes even the quietest of riding school horses misbehave. These are the circumstance of our client who suffered a nasty accident whilst riding out from a stables in Devon. The claimant had decided to go on a hack with some university friends and an instructor. They had left the stables on quiet lane but needed to cross a busy road in order to rejoin country lanes. Unfortunately the horse shied away from the traffic and collided into an adjacent fence. The old post and rail fence was dilapidated and had a number of rusty nails and barbed wire protruding from it. As the horse moved sideways into the fence, the riders knee struck a protruding rusty nail causing a deep laceration to her flesh. At first glance the case appeared to be a straightforward claim against the owners of the damaged fence. However, it transpired that the narrow strip of verge between the fence and the road fell into the ownership of the local authority, yet the fence was owned by another party altogether. Furthermore, the owners of the riding establishment knew the horse had a propensity to shy in traffic and they were also aware the fence was in a dangerous state, having tried to remove some of the barbed wire on a previous occasion. There were therefore three potential defendants and denials from all parties following submission of letters of claims. The Claimant was therefore faced with unsightly scarring on her knee and the possibility of no compensation from any of the three potential defendants. Fortunately the Claimant in this case chose Slee Blackwell for their specialist expertise in animal injury claims. This research paid off and we were able to successfully pursue her claim against the riding stables and she was awarded a five figure sum for her injury and associated losses. The stables were found to be liable to the claimant for failing to warn her about the horse's propensity to shy in traffic, particularly when they knew the adjacent fence was in a dangerous state of repair. If you have suffered a horse riding accident through no fault of your own please call our no obligation freephone number on 0800 0523 620 where a member of our specialist animal injuries team will be able to assist you.

A ditch on a bridleway?

Not all injuries suffered while riding are because of problems with the horse. If you have ever ridden on a bridleway and noted dangerous holes or ditches then it is worthwhile reporting this to the land owner in question. This is the scenario of a lady rider who was using a bridleway when her horse stepped into a deep gulley to the side of the main track and tripped, causing the rider to fall and fracture her pelvis. Luckily for the rider she had her mobile telephone to hand and was able to summon help as she was in no condition to carry on with her hack. The bridleway was owned by the local authority and they had recently undertaken work on the track clearing the hedges and should have been aware of the gulley. It had become over grown with foliage but was at least a foot deep and several feet long. The defendants were therefore held liable for failing to ensure the bridleway was safe to horse riders and accordingly the claimant was offered a five figure award of compensation for her injuries. If you have suffered a fall as a consequence of a damaged bridleway or public highway then please call us on 0800 0523 620 for free, no obligation legal advice.

The Hazards of Hacking
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