Former Olympic rider settles out of court in horse sale case

  • Former Olympic rider Chris Hunnable has settled a damages claim against him out of court. The sum involved is not being disclosed.

    In a High Court writ issued last autumn, Essex-based Mr Hunnable and co-owner Anne Bolingbroke were accused of selling an eventer, Red Quest, for £60,000 despite knowing that the horse had medical conditions that prevented him from competing (news, 9 November 2006).

    Mr Hunnable and Mrs Bolingbroke were sued for damages totalling £97,505 by buyers Stephen and Jacqueline West and Paul Jackson. The trio had purchased Red Quest in April 2003 for former European senior squad member Polly Jackson to compete at advanced level in eventing.

    The combination’’s best result came when they took the fourth spot in an advanced at Lulworth in July 2003. But the plaintiffs claimed that by November 2006 Red Quest could no longer be ridden owing to kissing spines [a debilitating back condition], osteoarthritis of the back and ligament problems.

    They claim that Mr Hunnable, who competed for Britain at the Atlanta Olympics, and Mrs Bolingbroke knew about Red Quest’s problems before selling the horse and that they had a vet report confirming this in June 2001, which should have been disclosed prior to sale.

    When approached by H&H last week, both parties declined to comment.

    Solicitor Jacqui Fulton, who acted for the plaintiffs, said: ““This is so sensitive and given how small the world of eventing is, both sides have decided to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.””

    But both parties did release a short statement to H&H, which read: ““We hope this case will speed up the move to disclose all material defects in an animal’s veterinary history prior to purchase.

    ““This in turn will allow outside investors to have confidence when investing in the sport.””

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (2 August, ’07)

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