A pregnant woman who was injured when the horse she was riding veered through a hedge and threw her onto the road has lost her claim for damages for her injuries.

The woman was an experienced rider, but was riding the horse using a bitless bridle. This was used because the horse had a sore mouth. The woman had not used one before so had undergone a trial in an enclosure before deciding that she was able to control the horse. She then set off with the owner of the animal, who was riding another horse.

After a while, the woman felt confident enough to ask the horse’s owner if she could bring it to a canter, but when she did so, she lost control of the animal and the accident happened.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the caution demonstrated by the initial practice session and the woman’s experience of horses showed that she had voluntarily accepted the risk of riding the horse. The owner was not therefore to blame for her accident.

Says Jason Claridge, “The law relating to injuries caused by animals is extremely complex and such cases often reach court. If you allow people contact with animals you own or control, we can advise you of the steps to take to minimise the risk of a successful claim against you if an animal causes an injury.”