Horse Riding Accident Claims

Horse riding accident lawyers

Our lawyers specialise in serious injuries including head, spinal and orthopaedic injuries. We are experienced in acting for people injured in horse riding accident cases. Our lawyers will fight so you receive the best medical care and rehabilitation without worrying about the financial burden.

  • “Well-regarded personal injury practice well equipped to advise on high-value and high-profile claims, including fatalities and severe spinal injuries. Specialist expertise in cycling-related injury claims.”

  • “Osbornes Law have captured the magic of keeping the customer service levels of a smaller firm whilst having all the expertise and power of the biggest firms.”

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 the inexperienced riders, resulting in horse riding claims for compensation.

These can be difficult cases and the law is quite complicated. For example there is what is called ‘strict liability’ for 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 scan 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.

Help from our leading personal injury lawyers

Our team of specialists are headed by Partner Stuart Kightley, who is experienced in acting for people injured in serious horse riding accident cases. Please contact Stuart or any of the team for free initial advice about whether and how you can bring a claim for compensation for the injuries and other losses you suffered in an equestrian accident.

Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

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






    • "A small but high-powered team, dealing with cases of significant value and complexity."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "An excellent firm which achieves fantastic outcomes for clients."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Osbornes Law have captured the magic of keeping the customer service levels of a smaller firm whilst having all the expertise and power of the biggest firms."

    • "A superb boutique catastrophic injury firm."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Really good at dealing with people who have suffered a serious injury."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "Affable and charming with very good client-handling skills."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "superb firm with consummate professionals and a human touch."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • Osbornes now has a team of highly experienced personal injury lawyers; particularly strong on high-value quantum cases, workplace accidents and claims involving foreign workers injured in the UK.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • The team provides fantastic strength-in-depth for personal injury claims. It is also particularly well placed to service clients from Eastern Europe with specialist native language speakers. From the smallest case to a multimillion-pound spinal injury case, Osbornes has the right staff to manage every claim.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • Ben Posford remains pre-eminent in his field with expert understanding of litigating cases of the upmost severity. His experience builds on Stuart Kightley’s running of the firm with recent partner additions of Rob Aylott making a fantastic addition.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • A firm going from strength-to strength-which retains its client care whilst being able to offer a full personal injury service.

      Legal 500 2020 - Personal Injury

    • Beneath Ben Posford’s calm and reassuring presence, which clients love, lies a formidable tactical and legal brain. His experience tells and he gets it right at every stage of the process from arranging the best possible rehabilitation, to ensuring, so far as possible, a polite relationship with those acting for the defendant in order to ensure best and early resolution of the claim.

      Legal 500

    • "Clients say he is very impressive, in terms of both his experience and his management of the personal injury team."

      Chambers UK

    • "They have an expanding profile in personal injury and clinical negligence and offer a superb, broad service in accidents abroad, enabled by their recruitment of bilingual legal executives who can guide non-English speakers through complex litigation."

      Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Personal Injury

    • "Solid personal injury practice well equipped to advise on high-value and high-profile claims arising from fatalities and severe head and spinal injuries."

      Chambers UK

    • "Offers specialist expertise in cycling-related injury claims."

      Chambers UK

    • "Offers specialist expertise in cauda equina syndrome cases."

      Chambers UK

    • "An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."

      Chambers UK

    • "Stuart Kightley is an incredibly empathetic solicitor who is very knowledgeable about traumatic brain injury."

      Chambers UK

    • "They are an outstanding firm to work with. They are consistently impressive in their work."

      Chambers UK

    • "Osbornes has a growing influence and impressive work load and is gaining a reputation for handling complex catastrophic work."

      The Legal 500

    • "Osbornes often handles claims valued at over £1m, particularly relating to severe brain and spinal cord injuries and niche areas such as cauda equina syndrome and cycling accidents."

      The Legal 500

    • "The hard-working, thorough and committed Robert Aylott, who brings significant heavyweight personal injury experience."

      Legal 500 2019

    • "Key team members include the energetic and personable Stuart Kightley who is head of the personal injury department."

      The Legal 500

    • "Catastrophic injury cases head Ben Posford is an excellent practical litigator who offers exceptional service."

      The Legal 500

    • Thank you for the hard work and patience and for being so patient with my constant questions.

      Personal Injury Client

    • "I have found Osbornes to be thorough, clear and understanding from the initial call. They do exactly what they say they will and with passion! I would recommend them to anyone".

      Client Review

    • Very good efficient service. Would not hesitate to use again.

      Personal Injury Client

    • I will use Osbornes for any future needs.

      Personal Injury Client

    • I don't think I could have asked for anything more. One of the best dealings I've had with the legal profession.

      Personal Injury Client

    • Sam was excellent and very professional in dealing with our claim.

      Personal Injury Client

    • Head of the personal injury department, Stuart Kightley is a first-rate practitioner, wholly focused on getting his client the best outcome in a pragmatic, sensible and consensual manner.

      Chambers UK

    • As a real specialist in spinal cord injuries, Ben Posford is always looking at new angles on how to maximise his cases.

      Chambers UK

    • Ben Posford is one of the best catastrophic injury lawyers around.

      Chambers UK

    • They provide exceptional service, great knowledge and understanding of the law, excellent client care and tactical nous

      Chambers UK

    • Stuart Kightley is praised for his expertise in catastrophic and fatal claims. Clients say he is very impressive, in terms of both his experience and his management of the personal injury team.

      Chambers UK

    • My claim was dealt with efficiently and professionally. Communication was excellent, and timely. Shrewd and sound advice was provided at every stage of the claim from beginning through to completion. On the basis of my personal experience I would strongly recommend Osbornes.

      Personal Injury Department Client

    • I just wish to thank you for your hard work and successful outcome. I am pleased with the result and would recommend you and your firm to anyone in the future.

      Personal injury department client

    • Ben Posford … is ‘tactically astute’ and ‘one of the best personal injury solicitors around’.

      Legal 500

    • Ben Posford ‘knows how to maximise the value of the claim for his clients’.

      Legal 500

    Types of Horse Riding Accident

    • 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 risks

    • 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 a number of 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 being 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.

    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.

    Recent Clients Osbornes Law have helped

    Mrs J was a keen but inexperienced horsewoman. In 2011 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 on-going, 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 in 2012. 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 so as to understand the long term prognosis and to quantify the claim, with a view to negotiating a settlement with the insurers.

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    Personal Injury Accreditations

    Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer 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. 23.6.2021Osbornes Helps Client Following Accident at...

        Mr C a young Romanian national, came to this country for work in 2015. He soon found work as a cleaner...

        Read more
      2. Serious Orthopaedic Injury Settlement

        Our client was a 25-year-old Spanish resident who was travelling in his works’ van when the van was hit by...

        Read more
      3. 18.5.2021Construction Site Accident at Work

        Our client suffered numerous fractures to their left leg requiring surgery. He was working in a room on a construction...

        Read more
      4. 18.5.2021Accident on a residential property site

        Our client worked as a carpenter/bricklayer on a building site at a residential property in North London. He was...

        Read more
      5. cycling in london

        18.5.2021Severe Brain Injury Caused By Cycling...

        Our client was a successful businessman when is was knocked to the ground. He suffered various fractures and internal injuries....

        Read more
      6. 18.5.2021Cyclist Receives £6,000 For Neck And Back...

        Our client hit his bicycle brakes as he approached queuing traffic. As he was doing this he was passing a...

        Read more

      VIEW ALL