Settlement for rider nearly crushed to death by his horse

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Settlement for rider nearly crushed to death by his horse

26th March 2013

A former stable hand who was nearly killed when the horse he was riding reared up and landed on top of him has received £26,000 in an out of court settlement.

Anne Lankester, a serious injuries specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the Berkshire man, who was extremely lucky he wasn’t crushed to death by the horse, then narrowly escaped being kicked in the head.

“On the day of the accident, my client was tasked with taking a difficult colt ‘to the gallops,’” said Anne. “The horse, which weighed upwards of 400 kilos and was only two years old, was known to become extremely unruly around other horses and in particular, around fillies.

“My client had ridden the horse in the two days prior to his accident and on each day the horse had reared up several times,” added Anne. “Although it is common for young colts to be boisterous and excitable it is fairly unusual for them to rear up. But when my client asked to have the horse mildly sedated to make him easier to manage, his requests were denied.”

Anne said it can be particularly dangerous with young horses that rear up as they often do not have the strength to hold the rider and their hind legs are likely to buckle as a result. “This means there is an added risk of having a horse that rears up land on top of the rider,” she said. “The practice of doping horses is sometimes used to help break in unruly colts and can be employed as long as the horses aren’t racing.

“When my client told the Head Lad he thought it was ‘complete madness’ not to dope the horse, he was told to ride him anyway,” she added. “Having taken the horse to the gallops, my client was trotting back to the stables when another stable hand appeared behind them on a filly. Despite warning the other rider to stay back, as soon as the horse became aware of the filly, he reared up and threw my client to the ground. The horse, which landed on top of him, then kicked out but miraculously missed his head.”

After an air-ambulance took the father-of-two to hospital in agony, scans revealed his pelvis had been shattered and he had suffered multiple fractures to his pubic bone. Doctors then told him his injuries could not be operated on and he would instead have to lie on his back until his fractures had healed.

“Following his discharge from hospital, my client was cared for at home by his family and friends,” said Anne. “Over the next several months, during which time he was confined to a wheelchair and then crutches, he underwent extensive physiotherapy treatment but unfortunately continued to suffer significant pain.”

When recalling the incident, a former trainer and jockey colleague of the claimant said he couldn’t understand why such an unruly horse had even been allowed out of the stables let alone allowed to roam anywhere near fillies. Another colleague had simply refused to ride the horse as she believed he was far too dangerous and unpredictable.

“Despite repeatedly voicing his concerns about the horse he had been asked to break in, my client’s employers ignored his requests to have the horse made more manageable and ultimately failed in their duty to protect him,” added Anne. “As a result of his injuries, he has had to endure months of pain and his doctors have now advised him against riding in the future as a second similar incident could potentially leave him paralysed.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons Solicitors is experienced in handling claims relating to all types of serious injury

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.