Horse riders accept ‘inherent risk’ of their sport

Horse riders have been denied the hopes of personal injury compensation payout when one  badly injured woman was told by judges that she had accepted the ‘inherent’ risk of her chosen sport upon mounting the animal, experts say.

32 year old Nadine Turnbull was thrown down onto tarmac by a bolting horse, sustaining serious injuries in the incident.  However, after she made personal injury claims against the owner of the horse, Rebecca Warrener, Lord Justice Lewison of London’s Appeal Court told Ms Turnbull that she had assumed the risk of unexpected and possibly dangerous occurrences occurring.

The judge rejected the injured woman’s claim, stating that any one who makes the decision to make horse riding one of their hobbies, regardless of how much enjoyment they derive from the activity, cannot lose sight of the risk that the horse may refuse to respond to the instruction of its rider or that it will respond in a way contrary to the rider’s desires.  Such risks are inherent in equestrian pursuits, the judge added, stating that this is simply exactly what happened in Ms Turnbull’s case.

The injured woman had been aiding to exercise the seven year old gelding while her friend was pregnant, but became injured in March of 2006, which is when the incident occurred. The woman had been mounted on the horse, who had previous to that day always been responsive to the instructions of his rider and had never misbehaved in the past, when it threw her to the ground after taking off across an open field and swerving through a gap in a hedge located close to his Milton Keynes stables.

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