Former Blenheim Horse Trials winner Patricia (Paddy) Muir is facing a £150,000 legal bill after one of her pupils won his appeal arguing that she sold him a “defective” horse.

John Palmer bought the horse, Toby, for £2,750 from Ms Muir in 2007. He went lame after purchase and had to be euthanased in 2008. Mr Palmer launched court action against Ms Muir, who denied that she had owned Toby, saying she was simply the agent.

Mr Palmer, from Corbridge, Northumberland, lost the first 2 court hearings, but at a court of appeal in London last week (5 March), judge Sir Stanley Burton upheld his appeal. This costly legal saga could establish a precedent for vendors being required to reveal if they are agents.

“It could have a big impact for agents having to disclose their role,” said equine law specialist Jacqui Fulton, Mr Palmer’s solicitor.

The retrial will be in around 6 months’ time.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 March 2014)