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Judge slams “grotesque” legislation on horse accidents
That pesky Animals Act is in the legal news again! This time a pregnant horse owner invited a friend to ride her horse, Gem, during her pregnancy and things went badly wrong. Gem appears to have been a well behaved horse and the friend had ridden him regularly without incident. However he developed a sore mouth so they put him in a hackamore, a bridle he had not worn before. After what appears to have been a fairly limited test run in the new bridle in a closed arena, where Gem was not asked to canter, the friend took him into a field and put him into canter which quickly turned into a gallop with Gem out of control. He veered through a gap in the hedge and out onto a tarmac road where his rider fell and was hurt. After the usual tortuous attempts to interpret the Animals Act (as to which see my last blog) the judge decided that there was no liability in any event because the owner’s friend had voluntarily accepted the risks associated with cantering a horse out in the open in a bitless bridle which he was not used to.