England – Ashleigh Harris was just 14-years-old when a tragic riding accident paralyzed her from the chest down. Ashleigh was enjoying a picnic in the country with her boyfriend and his family. She was encouraged to ride Polly Perks, an off the track Thoroughbred her boyfriend’s mother, Rachel Miller, had recently purchased. “She was much bigger and stronger than my pony Beauty. She was much more difficult to control,” Ashleigh remembers in an interview. Asheligh was unable to control Polly Perks, and as they trotted, the trot became a canter and Ashleigh fell over Polly’s head. She remembers the last 45 minutes of feeling she had in her legs before paralysis set in. “My toes went dead and then the numbness ran slowly up my body. Everyone was telling me that everything would be all right, but I knew then that something really bad had happened.”
Ashleigh has been paralyzed since that fateful day, and sued the Miller family for £3m, nearly $4m USD. Judge Graham Wood ruled last week that due to the horse owners error in judgement of Ashleigh’s riding ability, and placing her on a horse that required a more experienced rider, the family is liable for for the full amount Ashleigh sued for. The Miller family says the ruling will financially devastate them.
Lawyers in England say this will have a very chilling effect on the horse industry. “It’s going to make anyone who owns a horse think twice before allowing friends or family members to ride them,” Equine law expert Caroline Bowler told reporters.
Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773
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