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Fall was an accident, rules judge

An ex-model and businesswoman, who suffered head injuries in what she described as a “life-changing” fall from a horse while taking a riding lesson, today had her hopes of massive compensation dashed.

Mr Justice Openshaw rejected 48-year-old Catherine MacClancy’s claim that a low branch hit or distracted her as she tackled a drop jump at a riding stables in the Cotswolds.

And he vindicated Jillian Carenza, 55, who owns The Vine Riding and Livery Yard, near Broadway, Worcestershire, ruling she could in no way be blamed for the June 2003 tragedy. Dismissing Ms MacClancy’s six-figure damages claim, the judge said: “Riding, particularly riding in open country, is not free of risk.

“Of course, an instructor must take steps to reduce the risk to what is reasonable and acceptable; I find that the defendant (Ms Carenza) did just that.

“I am acutely aware of the dreadful effect that this accident has had upon the claimant (Miss MacClancy), but I find that it was just that: an accident.”

Read industry reaction to this ruling >>

For exclusive full industry reaction to the ruling see next Thursday’s issue of Horse & Hound (22 March)

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