A livery yard owner has had a claim of more than £75,000 against her dismissed — reassuring fellow business owners to fight their cases.
The yard owner, who wished to remain anonymous, runs a DIY yard of 45 horses.
The claimant was a 10-year-old girl who stabled a pony that she had on loan at the yard. The child took the pony off the yard on an unsupervised hack on 14 August 2012 and was thrown off — sustaining two fractures to her thoracic spine, which required surgery.
The child’s solicitors said that as well as providing livery services, the owner was also responsible for the provision of riding lessons, the pony’s loan scheme, and for supervising minors while they were on the yard.
They claimed that the owner had been negligent by failing to ensure that the child was supervised while on the yard and that she should have prevented the girl from leaving the yard with the pony.
HorseSolicitor, representing the owner, said that she had no involvement with the loan scheme or the riding lessons and that the yard’s policy was that children under 16 should not have been on the yard without supervision.
They added that the child’s mother was, or should have been, aware of this because the yard rules were displayed prominently in the office and in a contract she was provided with — but did not sign or return.
On 5 November a judge dismissed the claim, saying there was no obligation for the owner to have supervised the child on the yard.
“Yard owners should not have to worry about spurious claims damaging their reputation or profitability,” said a HorseSolicitor spokesman. “Yard owners should ensure they have adequate insurance in place, including legal cover, to protect against such claims.
“We were able to reassure our client that the claim against her was unlikely to be successful and robustly defend it.”
Ref: H&H 3 December, 2015