Former British Eventing team vet Jenny Hall is facing the prospect of paying the costs of defending a High Court writ from her own pocket.

Ms Hall MRCVS, of Lambourn practice Hall and Lawrence, is being pursued for damages for negligence by dressage rider Lindsay Jenkins over a pre-purchase examination (PPE) conducted in January 2004.

A writ was lodged at the High Court last week, and if the judge finds against her, costs could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Usually, the Veterinary Defence Society (VDS), with which all vets have professional indemnity insurance, insures its members against such claims.

But because Ms Hall did not notify the society when she first knew of the claim in September 2006, the VDS is refusing to pick up any bills that may ensue.

Solicitor Jacqui Fulton of Blythe Liggins, acting for Ms Jenkins, said the High Court writ relates to a PPE conducted in Germany for a grand prix horse valued “in excess of” £50,000.

Seven months after the vetting, in which a German vet took X-rays on behalf of Ms Hall, the horse developed navicular.

The writ alleges Ms Hall failed to advise Ms Jenkins that the X-rays were not of a high enough quality to make a sound clinical judgement on the horse’s suitability for dressage.

The horse had a conformational abnormality, it adds.

Ms Hall, who worked with the British team during August’s Olympic Games, told H&H she was aware of the claim and is seeking legal advice.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (20 November, ’08)