Owner wins payout in landmark case

  • Compensation for owner after horse suffers stress following road accident

    A rider has been awarded damages amounting to more than £1,700 after suing the driver of the car thatwas involved in an accident with her horse in September last year.

    The driver, Nicola Cox from Lydney ,Glos, was ordered by Gloucester County Court to pay amateur rider Gill James £1,700 in compensation after she claimed that her seven-year-old part-bred Hanoverian mare Tilly suffered stress and loss of confidence, as well as a drop in value, together with vets’ fees.

    Mrs James told the court that on the day of the accident, family friend Emily Powell, who had previously ridden Tilly on a number of occasions, was hacking her out along Brockhollands Road when they were overtaken by a four-wheel drive vehicle which caught her stirrup.

    Landmark legal battle

    This case is unique as it is the first time a claimant has been awarded compensation for psychological damage suffered to a horse. It is expected to pave the way for other similar cases.

    Prior to the accident, Gill said that Tilly was regularly hacked out on her own and in company without any problems. However, since the accident, the mare has become nervy and wary of vehicles, especially those approaching from behind.

    “Tilly was a good riding club horse before this accident but now the pleasure of hacking her out has gone because she’s a complete nightmare,” said Gill.

    At the end of last year, Gill sent Tilly to instructor Richard Richardson, who originally helped break and school Tilly, in an effort to rehabilitate her.

    “I would now consider Tilly is rideable by a competent amateur rider alone on a reasonably quiet road, but I would not be confident of her ability to keep calm in heavier traffic conditions,” he said.

    Looking back on the accident, Gill says: “I am so glad that I took out extra legal cover with my insurance company, which has allowed me to pursue this claim. It’s been heatbreaking and a financial nightmare, but hopefully the publicity surrounding this case will help highlight the problem riders face while riding on the roads.”

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