Judge injured at Dublin Horse Show settles out of court

  • A ride judge who sued for damages after he was bucked off in the ring at the Dublin Horse Show has settled out of court.

    John Chugg, a respected English panel judge, broke his back in the fall in 2004.

    His action against the horse’s owner and the organisers of the show was due to be heard in the High Court in Dublin last Thursday (8 December). But the case was settled just before.

    H&H understands that the payment amounted to €120,000 ( £101,000); €60,000 from each party’s insurers.

    Mr Chugg’s solicitor Andrew Coonan told H&H: “The case has been settled to the satisfaction of my client.”

    Mr Chugg, aged 60 at the time of the accident, was bucked off in the gallop in the middleweight hunter class at the Dublin in August 2004. He remounted but was bucked off again and broke his back.

    The horse, owned by Canice Farrell of Portlaois, Co Laois, was ridden by Mr Farrell’s daughter-in-law, Liz Lane.

    Ms Lane said: “This has taken over our lives. We are just relieved that our financial exposure has been limited.”

    A spokesman for the Royal Dublin Society, which runs the Dublin show, said it was pleased the case had been brought to a conclusion.

    When Mr Chugg began his legal action, there was some concern that it might have ramifications for ride judging.

    But David Ingle, deputy chair of judges at the British Show Horse Association, told H&H that was unlikely – because of the attention given to health and safety in this country.

    “All the horse and pony organisations are very proactive and our stewards and judges are well-informed,” he said.

    “The day of the ride judge may well come to an end one day – but if it does, it will be because of health and safety regulations, not because of John Chugg.”

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (15 December 2011)

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