Last month, 18-year-old Ashleigh Harris was awarded £3 million in compensation from her ex-boyfriend’s family after she fell from an untrained horse and broke her back.
Rachel Miller, the owner of the horse, has insurance to off-set part of the claim under the terms of their “personal liability” cover but the rest will have to come directly from the family’s own funds.
In court, it became clear that the horse involved was feisty and unsuitable for Ms Harris, who had only recently taken up riding.
Ms Miller argued in court that it was Ms Harris’ decision to ride the horse and they were not responsible for the accident. Ultimately, Judge Graham Wood QC ruled that Ms Miller made a “serious error of judgment in acquiring an unsuitable horse at the early stages of her riding hobby”.
The ruling is likely to have repercussions for all those who own horses and give those who are injured the confidence to pursue claims.