Court holds CSI Salland accountable for horse’s injuries

The court of Noord-Nederland has held CSI Salland accountable for a participating horse’s injuries. The incident happened in October of 2017 after one of the stable tents blew over in heavy winds. The rider and her horse were trapped under the tent. After the incident the rider had to let go of her (saddled) horse as it bolted in panic. The injured horse was examined repeatedly by veterinarians and eventually had to undergo surgery in November of 2017.

CSI Salland referred to the exoneration clause in the FEI programme, but the court did not agree with the statement. The reason was that the organiser continued to use the tent after the Dutch weather service issued code yellow warning for heavy winds and gusts. This is against safety regulations, and for that reason the organiser could not exonerate himself by invoking the exclusion of liability clause incorporated into the FEI schedule.

The owner, represented by Schelstraete Advocaten, states that the horse sustained serious injuries as a result of the calamity and demands a considerable damages sum. The horse’s worth at the beginning of October 2017 (before the event) was estimated at €200,000 and at 26 November it was estimated at €10,000 (excluding taxes).

Now that the accountability of the organiser is established, proceedings will continue on the subject of the amount of damages to be paid by the organiser. An expert was appointed to determine the value of the horse before and after the incident, and depending on the outcome of this expert’s investigation and the subsequent debate between both parties, an expert equine appraiser may also have to be appointed after that.

Article by Schelstraete Advocaten

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