Horse riders responsible for their own safety, says court

According to the Court of Appeal in London, riders take their safety into their own hands upon mounting a horse, as the court has recently rejected a personal injury compensation claim from a woman who sought recompense for a riding accident that saw her needing 20 surgical procedures on her face.

County Durham native Kara Goldsmith, of Hallgarth, Consett, made an accident claim against the owner of a horse after she fell from it after the horse bucked and reared.  Mrs Goldsmith tumbled from the saddle, and the horse trod upon her face, resulting in massive injuries to one side.

However, the Appeal Court recently ruled that she had accepted the risk voluntarily that the horse might react dangerously once she mounted.  The Court dismissed Mrs Goldsmith’s personal injury claims, and this has set an important precedent for establishing where the burden of risk lies when someone rides the horse owned by another person, legal experts say.

Legal experts have sympathised with Mrs Goldsmith’s plight, as the severe injuries she sustained to her face were terrible, and that she argued that there was no way she could have anticipated the severity of the horse’s reaction that led to her injuries.  However, the Court of Appeal has rejected her argument, legal insiders remarked, reaffirming the idea that injured individuals cannot claim compensation for an incident if they had a full appreciation of the general risk inherent in the activity.

The result of the case may benefit horse owners and their insurance firms, experts say, but has left riders alone in the dark.  It was said that horse riders may need to secure their own cover when riding a horse owned by someone besides themselves.

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