Horse riding accidents

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Horse riding accidents
  • Negligence
  • Animals Act 1971 claims

Horse riding accidents

Negligence

Many of the principles involved in horse riding accidents are common to the rest of personal injury law.

For example, the owner of an equestrian centre owes a duty of care to clients who visit their stables to ride as well as to employees who may be exercising or training horses. The duty of care will likely include a duty to:

  1. take reasonable care to supply suitable horses

  2. provide appropriate and well-maintained equipment

  3. provide adequate supervision and instruction

  4. provide suitable premises

Employees who work with horses are also entitled to the protection of the usual workplace duties of care. For further guidance, see Practice Note: The employer’s duty of care.

In Harris v Miller, the defendant was liable in negligence for allowing the 14 year old claimant to ride their horse, ‘Polly’, a young inexperienced thoroughbred, in an open field when they did not have enough knowledge of the horse and its behaviour. The defendant’s standard of care was assessed by reference to that of the ordinary and reasonably prudent horse owner. Such a person would ensure that they were possessed of sufficient information about both horse and rider to be able to assess any risk from what is an inherently dangerous activity.

Animals Act 1971 claims

The novel aspects of riding claims arise when the claims are pursued under the Animals Act 1971 (AA 1971). In

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