This case involves an 11-year-old boy who was left quadriplegic as a result of being bucked off of a horse at a horse ranch in Texas. The plaintiff had been a patron of this stable for several months and had worked with 2 different horses during his time with the stable. On the day in question, the plaintiff was riding a brand new horse the stable had just bought. This was the first time that this particular horse was in use at the stable location. The horse had not been ridden by any of the staff members before the plaintiff was put to ride it. While the plaintiff was riding, a rabbit rustled some leaves on the side of the trail, spooking the horse and causing it to buck. The plaintiff fell off the horse, suffering the severe spinal injury that caused his paralysis. It was alleged that the stable did not perform its due diligence in purchasing this horse and confirming that it was patron-ready at the time of its first ride.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your experience with bringing new horses into a stable, and making sure that they are appropriate for patrons of all ages to ride.
Expert Witness Response E-047020
Before acquiring a new horse that will be used for lesson students to ride, I thoroughly check out the horse regarding background, previous training and riding experience, health, disposition, manners, riding skills and steadiness with scary items. If the horse passes this initial evaluation and I decide to acquire the horse for our lesson program, I will first perform 30 – 60 days of extensive foundation training, desensitizing, negotiating obstacles, riding at all speeds in the arena, trails, open fields, and with traffic. I have served as an expert witness in 3 similar cases in which the plaintiff was assigned to ride a horse that was not adequately trained and was not appropriate for the rider.