Action against Equestrian AustraliaJulia Koffel
Koffels Solicitors & Barristers Take Action against Equestrian Australia on Grounds of Breach of Duty
Ross Koffel, one of Australia’s leading legal practitioners in Equestrian Law, was quoted in an article appearing in The Australian newspaper today, regarding safety issues for equestrian sport and the perceived lack of action from Equestrian Australia to take affirmative action to make the sport safer for competitors.
The issue has come to light pending the Coronial Inquest into the deaths of two young Eventing riders, Olivia Inglis and Caitlyn Fischer, in 2016; as well as various additional legal actions being taken against Equestrian Australia.
The action being taken by Koffels Solicitors & Barristers is on behalf of their client, also a young rider at the time of her accident, where she suffered horrendous injuries after her horse hit an unsecured jump causing the rotational fall of her horse.
Equestrian Australia contends that equestrian sports are of themselves dangerous and that competitors accept the risk of injury. Ross Koffel however, has claimed in court proceedings that Equestrian Australia failed in their duty of care in not securing the jump, as well as building above the maximum stipulated height for the course, which had a direct effect on the nature of the horse’s fall, and subsequent injury to the rider when the horse landed on top of her.
The regulations regarding the construction of cross-country courses stipulates very clearly that the elements to be jumped need to be firmly secured to the ground to prevent movement of the jump should a horse knock or otherwise come into impact with the jump. There are also strict specifications for the dimensions of jumps allowed for various levels of competition. Competitors enter in classes relevant to their level of experience and as well as that of their horse.
It is the firm belief of Ross Koffel that not enough is done to guard against preventable accidents in equestrian sports, particularly for younger riders.
The matter is due for mention in the Supreme Courts in February 2019.