Claiming Compensation for a Horse Riding Injury

Posted on: 6 mins read
Last updated:
Jonathan Thursby

Associate Solicitor, Personal Injury Claims

Share Article:

Horse riding is a popular hobby and sport but accidents can happen, no matter how experienced of a rider you are.

While many situations can be out of your control, if you’re seriously injured in a horse riding accident, and it could have been prevented by someone responsible for your safety, you may be entitled to claim compensation. 

Whether your accident happened at work, an event or on the road, we can help you access the right support and treatment for your injuries. Our expert team of Personal Injury Solicitors will be able to provide you with a free, no obligation claims assessment. If we think that you have good prospects of success in obtaining compensation, we can help you to do this, making sure that we guide you along every step of the process. 

We appreciate that accidents do happen but sometimes accidents can be avoided and sometimes accidents are caused through the action or inaction of another party. That’s where we can step in and help.

TrustpilotStarsWe're ratedExcellent

How Do Horse Riding Accidents Happen?

Horse riding accidents can happen in many different ways and in many different settings. Accidents can happen to both experienced and inexperienced riders. We’ve outlined some common causes of horse riding accidents below but this is by no means an exhaustive lists – horse riding accidents can happen at any time, anywhere.

Road Traffic Accidents

Sometimes horse riders use roads which can put them at risk of not being seen by a passing vehicle. Horses can also become spooked by oncoming traffic. While riders are bound by the Highway Code to show a duty of care towards road users, drivers are also required to take care when approaching horses on roads. If they fail to do so, this can cause a serious accident and injury to the horse and rider.

It was estimated by the British Horse Society that a total of 125 horses were injured in road traffic accidents in 2022, with an additional 68 horses dying as a result of road traffic accidents. In the same year, 139 riders were injured in road traffic accidents which showed an increase from the previous year where 126 riders were injured in the same circumstances.

Director of Safety for the British Horse Society, Alan Hiscox, described these figures as “shocking” and said: 

“Horses are still being killed and injured on our roads, riders continue to be seriously injured and too many drivers underestimate the importance of driving carefully around horses”

Speaking to Horse and Hound, Mr Hiscox expressed his frustration and disappointment at these statistics, especially given that the Highway Code had changed in 2021 to state that horses should be passed at a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour and giving at least 2 metres’ distance. The changes also saw the road hierarchy change to reflect riders being considered above cars. Mr Hiscox went on to say: 

“In the three months after the Highway Code changed, we did see incidents drop, but now they’re up to the levels of before the changes came in.”

The British Horse Society has always urged riders to report all incidents on the roads as it believes that only 10% of incidents are actually reported through their website. As such, it’s likely that many more incidents and injuries are occurring. A spokesperson from the British Horse Society said:

“The more incidents that are logged, the more the BHS can do to protect the rights of horse riders on Britain’s roads.”

Accidents At Work

Employers are responsible for your health and safety at work in England and Wales. As such, if you work with horses, and you’re injured by a horse because your employer didn’t put protective measures in place for your health and safety, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Competitive Accidents

If you’re competing at a horse riding event, the organisers should have put in place protective measures for both spectators and competitors. You could claim compensation if you’re injured at an event because of the negligence of the organisers.

Faulty or Poorly Fitted Equipment

It’s important that riders have the correct clothing and equipment to protect them from injury. Riding centres and stables are responsible for providing well fitted and high quality equipment and clothing to all riders in their care. Poorly fitted equipment, such as saddles or reins, could put riders at risk of an accident.

Unpredictable Horses and Inexperienced Riders

Riding instructors have a duty of care to their riders, which includes making sure that they’re paired with a suitable horse for their level of experience. If an inexperienced rider is paired with a difficult horse and loses control of them, this could lead to a serious injury.

Injuries Sustained in Horse Riding Accidents

Most horse riding accidents will only result in minor injuries, such as cuts, sprains and bruises. But serious accidents can and do happen, and in worst case scenarios, they can be fatal. Some examples of common and serious horse riding injuries include: 

Fortunately, serious injuries are rare in horse riding accidents but when they do happen, the effects of this can be life changing. Even if a rider is wearing a helmet, more common injuries such as head injuries and concussions are still quite common in horse riding accidents. 

Research reported on by the British Medical Journey indicates that the chest is the most common site of injuries in horse riding but that head and neck injuries are often the most dangerous.

While most people may be able to recover from their injuries, serious injuries can have lasting effects with 3.5% of those involved in horse riding accidents between 2007 and 2016 sustaining severe neurological damage. As already seen, the range of injuries that can be sustained in a horse-riding accident are extensive.

Spinal Cord Injuries

One of the more severe type of injuries which can be sustained is a spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury is when the vertebrae in the spine are fractured or dislocated, causing pressure on the nerves within the spinal cord. This then affects the ability of both the brain and the spine to transfer messages to each other.

Serious spinal cord injuries can leave people with paralysis, difficulty breathing and pain in their neck, head or back. In addition to this, it’s common for people to experience a wide range of emotions after their injury often influenced by:

  • What the person was like before the injury
  • Poor sleep
  • Medication
  • Head injury
  • Alcohol or drug withdrawal
  • Being on bed rest
  • General boredom

It will usually take time for a person to start to understand their situation following a spinal cord injury and emotions will take time to settle. Often there is a big adjustment to a person’s lifestyle and day to day activities following a spinal cord injury, with a lot of additional things to consider, such as pressure sores and bladder management.

Breaks and Fractures

While many riders will understand the risk of minor breaks and fractures when horse riding, a severe break can have a long lasting and damaging impact. Some bone injuries can get better with long term physiotherapy but others can cause long-term, life-long problems and can even affect a rider’s ability to continue horse riding.

If you have been involved in a horse riding accident, please do not hesitate in contacting our expert team of Personal Injury Solicitors who will be able to provide you with a free, no obligation claims assessment. We will listen to the details of your accident and the impact that your injuries have had on your life.

Our team can be contacted on 0808 239 3227 or alternatively you can request a call back here.


NHS National Services Scotland. (2015). Living with a Spinal Cord Injury. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

GOV.UK. (n.d.). The Highway Code. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

British Horse Society. (n.d.). Our Safety Work. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023)

Horse & Hound. (2023). 68 horses killed on Britain's roads in 2022. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Jonathan Thursby

Associate Solicitor, Personal Injury Claims

Areas of Expertise:
Personal Injury

Jonathan is an Associate Solicitor in our Serious Injury department, specialising in Employers’ Liability (accidents at work) and Public Liability (accidents in a public place) cases.

He prides himself on being approachable and sensitive to the needs of his clients, and he is also practical with strong attention to detail.

Get in touch, today!

Fill in the form below to get in touch with one of our dedicated team members, or call our team today on: 0808 239 3227

This data will only be used by Simpson Millar in accordance with our Privacy Policy for processing your query and for no other purpose