Horse Riding Accident Claims

Horse riding accident lawyers

Our Horse Riding Accident Claims lawyers specialise in serious injuries including head, spinal and orthopaedic injuries. We are experienced in acting for people injured in horse riding accident cases.

Contact us

Contact

  • “They punch well above their weight. The quality of service they provide equals that of any of the larger top-name firms in this area.”

  • “This is a really excellent personal injury team that can be regarded as one of the major players in the London claimant personal injury market.”

Horse riding claims and the law

Horse riding is an enjoyable and rewarding activity for more than 2 million of us, but horses can be unpredictable and even with the best safety precautions there is still a risk of accidental injury, especially for inexperienced riders, resulting in sports injury claims for compensation.

These can be difficult cases and the law is quite complicated. For example, there is what is called ‘strict liability’ for a breach of the Animals Act 1971, which means in theory that a claim will succeed without the need for proving negligence in cases where the animal can be categorised as ‘dangerous’. In reality, however, there are very few horse riding cases where the animal satisfies that condition, and even if it does the opponent has a statutory defence of ‘volenti’ whereby the rider is deemed to have accepted the risk of injury when agreeing to carry out such a dangerous activity. Where the Accident Act does not apply it is necessary to show that the accident was caused by the negligence of another. That will depend on the facts and evidence of the particular case. That other will usually be an instructor, riding school, stud or event organiser, and they will carry insurance to cover this risk.

Types of Horse Riding Accidents

  • Falls. The most common horse riding accidents involve falls from a horse. Horses flee from danger and so a nervous or frightened horse may shy, bolt or buck to unseat its rider. Being thrown in an uncontrolled way from a horse may result in broken bones and all too many cases may involve serious injury to the head or spine.
  • Kicks and bites. A horse’s feet and its teeth are its only means of defence and both can be dangerous weapons. A kick from the shoed hind feet of a horse can cause particularly nasty injuries.
  • Crush injuries. A horse weighs about half a ton, and if rider and horse both fall there is the danger of the horse falling or rolling onto the rider causing a potentially very serious injury. If horses are not properly controlled in stables or other confined spaces where people are moving about there is the risk of being accidentally crushed by a horse against a wall, gate or fence.

Avoidable horse riding accidents

  • Some horse riding accidents are unavoidable and some result from the rider’s own error. Riders accept that theirs is a dangerous activity, but what they should not accept are the additional dangers caused by the negligence and lack of care of others. Here are several examples of situations we have dealt with where carelessness creates an unacceptable risk of injury to horse riders:
  • Poorly planned and supervised riding lessons. Most riding schools have proper systems and training to make sure that dangerous situations do not arise during riding lessons. Considerable thought and experience needs to go into planning and conducting lessons because most riders under tuition will be inexperienced in dealing with horses. That is after all why they are there! But occasionally things go wrong. Perhaps an experienced instructor is unavailable and a junior steps in; maybe a suitable horse cannot be found, in terms of size or temperament, for a particular rider. There may have been an error in the booking arrangements or a riding area was out of bounds so that the available space is overcrowded. If horses feel uncomfortable and threatened they are more likely to behave unpredictably and are more likely to throw their rider.
  • Defective or poorly fitted equipment. A problem with the tack can cause an accident, and novices and beginners are not familiar with all the safety equipment. If the girth, saddle, bridle, bit, hat or reins are not properly fastened or checked for them then the rider may be unseated or may suffer more serious injuries in the event of a fall than otherwise.
  • Road accidents. Riding on the road brings its own particular and obvious hazards, and there are about 3000 road accidents involving horses each year. Riders can minimise the risk by wearing reflective clothing but are powerless to prevent vehicle drivers coming too close when overtaking or driving too fast. For a horse and rider on the highway, being hit by a vehicle is relatively uncommon but is spooked by one is much more likely, and a spooked horse may bolt or shy.
  • Competition and workplace accidents. Organisers and owners of venues at events and competitions owe a duty, not just to the riders but also to pedestrians and spectators, to minimise the risk of avoidable injury. So for instance a fence or jump may be poorly constructed or maintained so that it is dangerous, or the demarcation between horses and spectators may be inadequate so that pedestrians risk being trampled or crushed by the animals. Those who work with horses are owed a duty of care by their employer. That duty requires the employer to risk assess and address any safety dangers arising from that employment, and in practice that means having proper and documented systems for staff training, for potentially dangerous activities and for equipment maintenance and repair.

Horse riding accident prevention

  • Safety equipment: correctly fitted riding hats and body protectors will greatly reduce the risk of serious head and spinal injury.
  • Road riding: wear HiViz equipment and take the Riding & Road Safety Test
  • Riding schools: check out their credentials and make sure you learn with a qualified and experienced instructor.

See the British Horse Society website (bhs.org.uk) for further details.

Horse riding claim client stories

Mrs J was a keen but inexperienced horsewoman. She enrolled with a reputable local riding school to improve her riding skills and her confidence so that she could go riding with her friends.

Her lesson was in an indoor arena and she was supervised by an experienced instructor, but as she trotted around the perimeter her horse was spooked by the instructor and she was thrown to the ground, landing in a sitting position.

She sustained fractures to the vertebra in the lower back which are likely to cause long-term pain and disability.

Liability is denied and the case is ongoing, so at this stage we cannot comment in detail about the case, but it illustrates vividly the dangers inherent in horse riding. Mrs P was riding slowly, in a safe environment and under one-to-one supervision, but because her horse took fright it threw her off. Most riders are thrown off at one time or another and usually come to no great harm, but being thrown from a horse is a sudden and uncontrolled event and because of the height, speed and force involved it is often impossible to break the fall or land in a safe manner. The rider can easily land on their bottom, and that can cause compression fractures to the vertebrae in the lower spine, and this is what happened with Mrs P.

Miss R, a recently qualified solicitor, took up horse riding and after a few lessons enrolled for a training day with a riding school in Greater London. The weather was poor and so the outdoor riding areas were out of bounds; all the lessons were held together in the indoor arena. 

This meant that there were more riders, horses and instructors than was safe in such a confined space. The problem was compounded by the fact that the riders were all of different levels of ability, from absolute beginner to competent rider, and on top of this there was nobody in charge overseeing the whole operation. This led to the horses all travelling in different directions around the arena. The inevitable consequence was that horses and riders were getting in each other’s way, and the less experienced riders became nervous and defensive.

An experienced rider carried out a change of rein and cut in to the path of Miss R’s horse, which shied and threw her off.

The claim against the riding school was that this was an avoidable accident: they knew or ought to have known that this was something that horse might have done in those particular circumstances that they had created. In a crowded and uncontrolled situation a horse with a novice rider was likely to throw that rider off. This was not a case of a horse throwing a rider because that is something inherent in their behaviour and something that a rider must accept as a risk of the activity. Neither was it a simple case of an instructor making a mistake. It was instead a system failure, and those in control at the riding school were negligent in failing to ensure that there was a proper contingency plan for bad weather, so that the lessons could still go ahead in a safe and controlled way.

Liability was duly admitted by the riding school’s insurers and so there will be no need for legal proceedings.

In the fall Miss R landed on her lower back and sustained compression fractures to two of the lumbar vertebrae. She did not need surgery but despite physiotherapy, she continues to suffer low back pain and may well have long-term symptoms, including the risk of degenerative change, and we are in the process of obtaining medical evidence to understand the long-term prognosis and quantify the claim, to negotiate a settlement with the insurers.

Contact us today

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you






    Client StoriesVIEW ALL

    1. man cycling past London underground station
      6.6.2023

      London Cycling Injury Case Studies

      Successful claim by cyclist injured after a hit-and-run Our client had been playing volleyball in the New Cross area of...

      Read more
    2. cyclist in camden, london
      4.5.2023

      Cycling Accident Claims: Client Stories

      GP Awarded £1m Settlement Kate Milton, a Senior Associate at Osbornes Law settled a cycling accident claim for a 52-year-old...

      Read more
    3. forklift truck
      11.4.2023

      £250,000 settlement for client injured in forklift truck accident

      Sophie Davies, a specialist personal injury lawyer at Osbornes Law, recently represented a client who suffered life-changing injuries following a...

      Read more
    4. Accidente en almacén
      30.3.2023

      Accident at Work Client Stories

      £20,000 for Industrial Injury Claim Enviro-Strip (UK) Ltd have been ordered to pay £20,000 in accident at work compensation after a worker...

      Read more
    5. green traffic light
      14.2.2023

      Fatal Accident Case Studies

      Settlement for Pedestrian Killed Crossing the Road Laura Swaine, an Associate at Osbornes Law acted on behalf of a family...

      Read more
    6. shiba inu dog walking in the dark outdoors
      19.1.2023

      Claimant receives settlement after vicious dog attack

      The Claimant had been walking her two dogs on the lead, late at night, near to her home. As they...

      Read more
    7. stadium
      18.1.2023

      Pedestrian receives £1.75 million following amputation

      Kate Milton, acted on behalf of a Romanian National who was hit by a speeding vehicle as she was walking...

      Read more
    8. Rush hour in London
      18.1.2023

      Motorcyclist receives £3 million in settlement

      Kate Milton, a Senior Associate at Osbornes Law settled a claim for a 27-year-old motorcyclist who was involved in a...

      Read more
    9. Cyclist on a street in London
      5.10.2022

      Cyclist Receives £50,000 After Hit by Sports Car

      Andrew Middlehurst, a lawyer in the specialist cycling injuries team at Osbornes Law, recently settled a claim for a cyclist...

      Read more
    10. accidente de bicicleta
      25.7.2022

      London cyclist struck by 4×4 receives settlement

      Andrew Middlehurst, a lawyer in the specialist cycling injuries team at Osbornes Law, recently settled a claim for a cyclist...

      Read more
    11. cars on portobello road
      19.6.2022

      Car accident client stories

      Below is a summary of the car accident claims that the personal injury specialists in the personal injury claims department...

      Read more
    12. bicycle wheel
      30.5.2022

      Injured London Cyclist Receives £70,000 Settlement

      Cycling accident lawyer, Laura Swaine, recently settled a claim for an injured cyclist who sustained serious injuries to her wrist...

      Read more
    13. E Bicycle
      4.5.2022

      Settlement reached for cyclist after insurers deny liability

      Personal Injury specialist, Laura Swaine, recently settled a cycling injury claim following the driver fleeing the accident site and refusing...

      Read more
    14. Ambulance
      28.2.2022

      Client left with brain injuries after car accident...

      Our Spanish client was the front-seat passenger in a car driven by her husband who was involved in a high-speed...

      Read more
    15. accidente de bicicleta
      25.1.2022

      £130,000 Settlement for Cyclist Struck by London Taxi

      Andrew Middlehurst, a specialist cycling injury lawyer, has settled a claim for a cyclist who was struck by a black...

      Read more
    16. doctor brain mri
      9.1.2022

      Settlement secured for head injury caused by hammer...

      Osbornes Law has secured a £100,000 settlement for her client who suffered serious head injuries after being attacked in prison by...

      Read more
    17. school children writing
      17.11.2021

      £270,000 settlement for school accident

      Osbornes Law secures a £270,000 settlement for a Polish woman who slipped as a schoolgirl on a wet floor at school....

      Read more
    18. shopping bags
      17.11.2021

      £100,000 settlement for tripping at work

      Osbornes Law secures £100,000 settlement for Hungarian woman who tripped over a shopping bag at work Siobhan McIvor, a Partner in...

      Read more
    19. factory worker
      17.11.2021

      £165,000 settlement for factory accident

      Siobhan McIvor, a Partner in the Personal Injury Department of Osbornes Law, has settled a £165,000 accident at work claim, with...

      Read more
    20. house builders
      16.11.2021

      Significant lump sum for below the knee amputation

      Mr N, a Romanian man in his 30s, came to the UK to work with his father-in-law in early 2018. He...

      Read more
    21. man running with prosthetic leg
      5.11.2021

      Seven figure leg amputation settlement

      Mr S was walking across the yard at work when he was run over by a forklift truck from behind....

      Read more
    22. Ambulance vehicles at the Royal London Hospital
      26.10.2021

      Examples of Serious Head & Brain Injury Settlements

      C–v-N Child pedestrian crossing road knocked over by car when running into road sustaining a traumatic brain injury and...

      Read more
    23. man riding motorcycle
      6.10.2021

      Multi-Million Settlement After Motorbike Accident

      Our lawyers achieved a £5m settlement for a 54-year-old man following a motorbike accident. As a result of the accident,...

      Read more
    24. cycling in london
      14.9.2021

      Claim Settled for £70,000

      Andrew Middlehurst, specialist bicycle accident lawyer at Osbornes Law, has settled a claim for an injured cyclist in the region...

      Read more

    VIEW ALL

    Client StoriesVIEW ALL

    1. man cycling past London underground station
      6.6.2023

      London Cycling Injury Case Studies

      Successful claim by cyclist injured after a hit-and-run Our client had been playing volleyball in the New Cross area of...

      Read more
    2. cyclist in camden, london
      4.5.2023

      Cycling Accident Claims: Client Stories

      GP Awarded £1m Settlement Kate Milton, a Senior Associate at Osbornes Law settled a cycling accident claim for a 52-year-old...

      Read more
    3. forklift truck
      11.4.2023

      £250,000 settlement for client injured in forklift truck accident

      Sophie Davies, a specialist personal injury lawyer at Osbornes Law, recently represented a client who suffered life-changing injuries following a...

      Read more
    4. Accidente en almacén
      30.3.2023

      Accident at Work Client Stories

      £20,000 for Industrial Injury Claim Enviro-Strip (UK) Ltd have been ordered to pay £20,000 in accident at work compensation after a worker...

      Read more
    5. green traffic light
      14.2.2023

      Fatal Accident Case Studies

      Settlement for Pedestrian Killed Crossing the Road Laura Swaine, an Associate at Osbornes Law acted on behalf of a family...

      Read more
    6. shiba inu dog walking in the dark outdoors
      19.1.2023

      Claimant receives settlement after vicious dog attack

      The Claimant had been walking her two dogs on the lead, late at night, near to her home. As they...

      Read more
    7. stadium
      18.1.2023

      Pedestrian receives £1.75 million following amputation

      Kate Milton, acted on behalf of a Romanian National who was hit by a speeding vehicle as she was walking...

      Read more
    8. Rush hour in London
      18.1.2023

      Motorcyclist receives £3 million in settlement

      Kate Milton, a Senior Associate at Osbornes Law settled a claim for a 27-year-old motorcyclist who was involved in a...

      Read more
    9. Cyclist on a street in London
      5.10.2022

      Cyclist Receives £50,000 After Hit by Sports Car

      Andrew Middlehurst, a lawyer in the specialist cycling injuries team at Osbornes Law, recently settled a claim for a cyclist...

      Read more
    10. accidente de bicicleta
      25.7.2022

      London cyclist struck by 4×4 receives settlement

      Andrew Middlehurst, a lawyer in the specialist cycling injuries team at Osbornes Law, recently settled a claim for a cyclist...

      Read more
    11. cars on portobello road
      19.6.2022

      Car accident client stories

      Below is a summary of the car accident claims that the personal injury specialists in the personal injury claims department...

      Read more
    12. bicycle wheel
      30.5.2022

      Injured London Cyclist Receives £70,000 Settlement

      Cycling accident lawyer, Laura Swaine, recently settled a claim for an injured cyclist who sustained serious injuries to her wrist...

      Read more
    13. E Bicycle
      4.5.2022

      Settlement reached for cyclist after insurers deny liability

      Personal Injury specialist, Laura Swaine, recently settled a cycling injury claim following the driver fleeing the accident site and refusing...

      Read more
    14. Ambulance
      28.2.2022

      Client left with brain injuries after car accident...

      Our Spanish client was the front-seat passenger in a car driven by her husband who was involved in a high-speed...

      Read more
    15. accidente de bicicleta
      25.1.2022

      £130,000 Settlement for Cyclist Struck by London Taxi

      Andrew Middlehurst, a specialist cycling injury lawyer, has settled a claim for a cyclist who was struck by a black...

      Read more
    16. doctor brain mri
      9.1.2022

      Settlement secured for head injury caused by hammer...

      Osbornes Law has secured a £100,000 settlement for her client who suffered serious head injuries after being attacked in prison by...

      Read more
    17. school children writing
      17.11.2021

      £270,000 settlement for school accident

      Osbornes Law secures a £270,000 settlement for a Polish woman who slipped as a schoolgirl on a wet floor at school....

      Read more
    18. shopping bags
      17.11.2021

      £100,000 settlement for tripping at work

      Osbornes Law secures £100,000 settlement for Hungarian woman who tripped over a shopping bag at work Siobhan McIvor, a Partner in...

      Read more
    19. factory worker
      17.11.2021

      £165,000 settlement for factory accident

      Siobhan McIvor, a Partner in the Personal Injury Department of Osbornes Law, has settled a £165,000 accident at work claim, with...

      Read more
    20. house builders
      16.11.2021

      Significant lump sum for below the knee amputation

      Mr N, a Romanian man in his 30s, came to the UK to work with his father-in-law in early 2018. He...

      Read more
    21. man running with prosthetic leg
      5.11.2021

      Seven figure leg amputation settlement

      Mr S was walking across the yard at work when he was run over by a forklift truck from behind....

      Read more
    22. Ambulance vehicles at the Royal London Hospital
      26.10.2021

      Examples of Serious Head & Brain Injury Settlements

      C–v-N Child pedestrian crossing road knocked over by car when running into road sustaining a traumatic brain injury and...

      Read more
    23. man riding motorcycle
      6.10.2021

      Multi-Million Settlement After Motorbike Accident

      Our lawyers achieved a £5m settlement for a 54-year-old man following a motorbike accident. As a result of the accident,...

      Read more
    24. cycling in london
      14.9.2021

      Claim Settled for £70,000

      Andrew Middlehurst, specialist bicycle accident lawyer at Osbornes Law, has settled a claim for an injured cyclist in the region...

      Read more

    VIEW ALL