Q. My friend’s usually unflappable horse recently kicked her farrier quite badly during routine shoeing. My new youngster is a little unpredictable and nervous and I am concerned that he might do something similar when he is being shod or seen by the vet. I do have my horse insured, but will my policy cover me if he causes injury to someone else?
Simon Mackaness replies:People who deal with horses regularly, such as your farrier, should automatically act with caution around them.
Strictly speaking, horse insurance covers the horse only, but the majority of insurers offer Public Liability insurance as an optional extension to your policy. This should indemnify you for a minimum of one million pounds. If you have chosen this add-on you should be covered.
You may also be covered by your own membership to a sporting organisation, such as the British Horse Society (BHS), the British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) or British Dressage (BD) – check with the association for details.
It is essential you have proper Public Liability cover for equestrian activities and if you are in any doubt as to your policy’s validity or coverage check with a specialist broker or with the association which provides the insurance.
In order to claim against you for damage caused by your horse, you must first of all be found to have been negligent in your actions and legally liable.
Horses are recognised by law as being animals with their own minds and if you have acted appropriately, the fact that your horse has caused damage to either person or property does not necessarily mean that you (or your insurer) are responsible.
Regardless of whether or not you are insured, it is your moral obligation to do everything you can to reduce the risk of your horse causing damage to third party property or persons and, knowing that your horse is a little nervous, you should warn anyone dealing with him to take extra care.
Most people who are involved with horses will automatically act with caution around animals that are young or new to them, but you can never be too careful!
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