Horse riders in Ramsgate Kent

With 3.2 million people participating in horse riding in 2022* and thousands of riders being injured in accidents every year, a personal injury lawyer has said that the number of legal claims involving horses is expected to rise accordingly and that it is vital for all road users to know their rights. 

Rachael Stibbe, a Senior Associate in the Personal Injury team at Kent solicitors, Furley Page, said: “Approximately 3,000 accidents involving horses occur every year, some of which are unavoidable while others are a result of another person’s actions or negligence.  Horse-riding and equestrian accidents can occur in a variety of circumstances and the injuries sustained can be serious and life changing. 

“There are any number of ways in which a horse might be involved in an accident that results in an injury to a person, but in order to claim compensation, the accident has to have been at least partly someone else’s fault. Horse riders owe a duty of care to other road users, which extends to other riders, pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle drivers.  

“There are a variety of methods through which blame might be established, including through negligence, The Animals Act, and various workplace or road traffic laws.” 

Potential areas for legal claims include: 

Working with horses – The employer must take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of employees working with horses. 

  • Escaped horses – The onus is on the owner to take reasonable measures to ensure that the horse cannot get out. That means, for example, ensuring that there is proper, maintained fencing. 
  • Horses on roads – For claims involving riders, pedestrians, or those in vehicles in a collision with horses, the circumstances surrounding the accident must be examined to establish who is to blame and whether there is, therefore, a claim. 
  • Horse riding lessons and accidents in stables – The horse-riding instructor must ensure that the ability of the rider matches the horse and carry out reasonable checks that the rider was fit to ride. Also, the instructors have a duty to provide suitable equipment and not let the rider wear unsuitable clothing, footwear, or headgear. 
  • Accidents in horse riding competitions – These types of accidents could involve injury to a participant or a spectator.  Either way, the competition organisers, as well as those taking part, have a duty to take protective measures for the safety of those involved. 
  • Unknown characteristics of the horse – This usually involves a horse recently purchased where, for example, the seller has not disclosed a medical or temperamental condition causing the horse to bolt or throw the rider.  
  • Faulty or ill-fitted horse-riding equipment – There is a degree of overlap here with riding lessons and workplace accidents but equally, someone may have been sold faulty equipment which might lead to a claim against the seller. 

Rachael Stibbe continued: “We all know that horse owners love their animals, but they should never forget that horses are extremely powerful and can be temperamental, and health and safety should always be at the forefront of their thoughts. 

“When it comes to unscrupulous sellers, unfortunately there are plenty around and it can be easy even for very experienced riders to be fooled. The one bit of advice I always give is, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”  

If you have been involved in a horse-riding or equestrian accident that wasn’t your fault then it is in your best interests to obtain legal advice from an appropriately qualified specialist solicitor who will be able to assess whether or not you are likely to be able to bring a successful personal injury claim. 

For further information, please contact Rachael Stibbe on 01227 763939 or email  

By Ed

©2024 Hawkinge Gazette       -       The Hawkinge Gazette is not responsible for the content of external sites