The Rogak Report: 30 Aug 2010 ** Recreational Risks - Horses **
FIRST SHE GETS THROWN FROM HORSE, THEN HER SUIT GETS THROWN FROM COURT
Molly Kaitlin May by her Mother and Natural Guardian Emily May v. Kassel Realty Partnership et al., Supreme Court/Bronx Index no. 350542/2007 (Salman, j)
In this suit, wherein my office represented the defendants, plaintiff Molly Kaitlin May fell from a pony during a pony ride supervised by defendant Bailiwick Ranch. Plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to properly supervise the horse rides, failing to properly lead the horse, and failing to warn of a dangerous condition.
Pre-trial testimony established that the child had taken at least two prior pony rides. On the date of the accident, Molly's father signed a standard Release and Assumption of Risk agreement, and then he walked beside the horse while Molly's mother walked behind. The wrangler was leading the horse, holding the reins about two and a half feet in front, while the horse walked at a "normal" pace.
According to the father, the horse suddenly reared up on its hind legs and Molly fell off. The wrangler testified that the pony turned its head to look to the side, causing its back to curve and the child to fall off. The wrangler also testified that the pony, named Strawberry, had given rides to children "too many times to count" without prior incident.
On this motion for summary judgment by defendants, the Court held that "A participant in a recreational risk such as horseback riding assumes risks which are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the activity." Dalton v. Adirondack Saddle Tours, 40 AD3d 1169. "It is well established that an inherent risk in sporting events involving horses is injury due to the sudden and unintended actions of the animals. These sudden and unintended actions include those actions which result in the participant being thrown or falling."
"Defendants have made a prima facie case of their entitlement to summary judgment. The law of this State is well settled and it is firmly established that one who engages in the activity of horseback riding assumes the risks inherent in that sport, which include being thrown from the animal and falling from the animal."
The Complaint was dismissed.
Our senior associate Renee Breitner handled this case and wrote the summary judgment motion.