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Rider ‘accepted’ risk of injury

Kara Goldsmith of Hallgarth, Consett, County Durham, sustained serious injuries when she was test riding a horse, which had been offered to her, free of charge, for it to have a good home. During the riding sequence, the horse started bucking violently and then reared up, causing Mrs Goldsmith to fall. She had ridden this particular horse before, without experiencing any difficulties.

This was followed by the horse treading on her face and carving in one side of it. As a result of her injuries, Mrs Goldsmith required twenty facial operations and subsequently sued for compensation. Her argument was that the bucking motion that caused her to fall was beyond the scale of her anticipation!

On the 27 February, the Court of Appeal in London rejected her claim, stating she was not due any damages. It was on the basis of the principle, that if an injured party full appreciates the general risk, they cannot then claim for injuries that arise when that risk materialises. Furthermore, the rider of a horse accepts responsibility for their injuries when they get on a horse, owned by another person. It is their responsibility to ensure they have their own insurance cover.