A pony ride injury compensation claim, made by a woman left with a permanent scar after her accident, has been settled during a hearing to establish liability.
Maria Gray (35) – a dentist from Belfast – was among a group of friends having a hen weekend in Galway when she went on a pony trek at Feeney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky on 15th July 2013. The trek started without incident but, as the party slowly descended a steep incline, the legs of Maria´s pony buckled and Maria fell from the saddle.
Maria sustained a deep cut on her chin and a wrist injury. She was taken to hospital, where the cut was cleaned and stitched, but she now has a permanent scar that is visible to her patients. Maria´s wrist injury deteriorated and she had to undergo eight weeks of physiotherapy – during which time she was unable to work because of a splint on her arm.
After seeking legal advice, Maria made a pony ride injury compensation claim against the owners of the riding school – Gerard and Siobhan Feeney. In her legal action, Maria alleged that pony was too small for her 5 foot 8½ inches frame and was only suitable for a child under the age of fourteen. She also claimed that the school had not given her adequate instruction on how to ride the pony.
The Feeney´s denied that the pony was too small for Maria, and argued that she had been offered a larger pony to ride, but had declined the opportunity. Without the riding school owner´s consent to carry out an assessment, the Injuries Board issued Maria with an authorisation to pursue her pony ride injury compensation claim through the courts.
The hearing to determine liability opened before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam at the High Court last week. Maria told the judge it was her belief that the pony had already been out on a trek earlier on that very hot day. Consequently it was hungry and tired, and kept stopping to eat grass. She added that the pony was only suitable for a child under fourteen years of age because of its age.
Before the second day of the hearing could get underway, the judge was told that the parties had come to an agreement and the pony ride injury compensation claim could be struck.