A woman, who injured her wrist after falling off a pony during a weekend away, has settled her claim for compensation with the owners of a riding school.
On the 15th July 2013, Maria Gray – a thirty-five year-old dentist from Belfast – had travelled to Galway with a group of friends as part of a hen weekend. As part of the trip, the group went to Fenney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky. Though the excursion was initially without incident, as the ponies started down a steep incline, Maria’s pony gave way and Maria fell to the ground.
As a result of the fall, Maria sustained a laceration to her chin and damage to her wrist. Maria was taken to hospital, where her cuts were treated and stitched. However, she now has a permanent scar that she claims in visible to all of her patients. Despite the treatment, Maria’s injury became worse and she had to have eight weeks of physiotherapy. Whilst she was undergoing the therapy, Maria was unable to work as the splint that she had on her arm stopped her from returning to work.
Maria sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for pony ride compensation against Gerard and Siobhan Feeney, the owners of the riding centre. In her claim, Maria alleged that the pony assigned to her was too small. She was just over five foot eight inches, and she claims that the pony was only suitable for those under the age of fourteen. Maria also alleges that she was not adequately instructed on how to safely ride the animal.
However, the owners of the riding centre denied that they had not provided an adequately sized pony for Maria. They also claim that they had offered Maria a larger animal, but she declines the opportunity to change. As the Feeneys did not consent to the Injuries Board’s request to investigate Maria’s claim, she went to the courts to seek compensation.
Earlier this month, the hearing to determine liability was heard at the High Court by Mr Justice Raymond Fullam. Maria testified to her belief that the pony with which she had been provided had already been on a trek that day. As the day in question was very hot, the animal was hungry and tired, and consequently kept stopping to eat grade. She also reaffirmed her belief that the pony was too small for someone of her size and stature.
However, before the hearing recommenced the next day, the court was informed that the parties had reached an agreement and that the claim for pony injury compensation could be struck.