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Problem - Injury Compensation / Time off from work - Advice needed please

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Hope I'm doing this right as I'm new.


On 30th September, whilst on holiday I took part in a hack at the local riding stables. Unfortunately, whoever saddled the horse didn't do so correctly, and halfway through the ride the saddle slipped round throwing me back first onto the road. At the time I felt sore and shaken, but didn't think I'd done much damage. I got back on after the instructor had re-saddled the horse, doing the girth up tighter than before.


The next day I was in so much pain that I ended up having to go to hospital where they informed me that I had bruised my back and neck, and had fractured rib (right side).


On my return home, I attempted to go to work, which lasted a day as I was in too much pain and not mobile enough. I saw a GP at my local practice who signed me off for a week, and then I saw a different GP today who has signed me off for another two weeks. I am also struggling with pins and needles in my right arm, which my GP believes is from a trapped nerve caused by the fall.


I feel that the stables were at fault for my injury, but I'm concerned whether to go ahead with a claim against them, and if so how to go about it. I'm also at the last stage of the absence management programme for where I work, as during the last year I have been off work with depression & stress, kidney infections, slipped disc, tonsilitis and shingles (twice); I'm worried that I could be let go over the amount of time that I've had off.


Would be grateful for any advice





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There would be contributory negligence on your part. If the problem was caused by the saddle strap not being tightened ebough, then the rider - surely - would be bound to check this? The same holds true for car hire, you expect it to be roadworthy, but checking the tyres etc before moving off remains the responsibility of the driver. If the stables are not willing to enter into a dialogue, then you will have an uphill battle to avoid taking at least 50% of the blame, possibly even more if their staff assert that at the time of preparation the saddle was correctly prepared and attached. A rider should certainly check that all buckles are correct and any induced slack rectified.

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Thanks for your reply.


I have no knowledge of how to saddle a horse personally. I went there as a holiday activity, and have only ridden a handful of times before, and the stables were fully aware that we were both beginners. If I was supposed to be responsible in some way for how the horse was saddled - would the same thing apply to the harness/ropes being incorrectly fitted by a climbing instructor for example?

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Providing there was an express (and verifiable) statement that the rider was a novice, then there would be greater liability on the stables, but this may just shift the blame by a few percentage points, not provide a slam-dunk win. The rider (or participant) is also expected to use their own judgement as to the relative merits of safety of the action to be undertaken. After all, there are experienced riders with years in the saddle finding that they have a broken neck (Christopher Reeve) and it remains 'just one of those things'. Activities are as safe as they can be - but whilst horse riding may not have the same adrenaline rush as white-water rafting, paragliding off the Matterhorn, or going through the Grand Canyon in a canoe - there are elements of risk in all of these, and it is for the instructor/trainer to make it as safe as practicable - there is no guarantee it will be 100% safe. It probably is, most of the time - but to win an action you would have to prove negligence, and whilst the cause and effect on you are not disputed. this is where YOUR insurance kicks in. If someone else is liablle, your insurer will pursue them.


As to the paragliding I mentioned earlier, I pulled out of this myself - I'd never run off a mountain before, and wanted to try. All I had to do was stay clipped to my instructor. After getting to the launch point it all looked good and we prepared for launch. I then noticed a long way down in the valley snow clouds rolling in which would have meant a blind last-stage descent. I declined to proceed despite the thumbs up from my instructor. I'd no idea whether I was being over-cautous, but after getting the mountain railway back to Zermatt, saw ambulances arrive. Another team did make the jump.....


If you didn't have your own insurance, I sympathise - but of the limited horse riding I have done, a loose saddle is an uncomfortable feeling and experienced long before you do a 180 spin, usually giving time for someone to assist and ticgten it a notch. Others may give a better insight into the actual use of the saddle, as it's not in my field of expertise - but proving blame will be the hardest task. True, if you never try anything, you won't be exposed to risk, but then things would get might dull.....

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Much as I hate "ambulance chasers", it may be worth at least speaking to a no win no fee solicitor on this one.


I appreciate, and agree, with where buzby is coming from, but I dont neccessarily agree to the extent of the contributory negligence. Ultimately of course, such a thing is subjective, and we will all have differing opinions, but the only opinion that matters is that of a judge.


Was any formal "accident record" completed at the time?


Of course the big problem is going to be (as buzby rightly highlights) proving any negligence on their part - did the instructor acknowledge at the time incorrect saddling, and were their any witnesses to this?

7 years in retail customer service


Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years


By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.


Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


Please click the star if I have helped!!

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