Equine Activities Act Immunizes Horse Owner From Suit

The defendant owned a farm with horses.  The defendant invited the plaintiff and his granddaughter to come to the defendant’s farm to ride horses.  The defendant saddled horses for the plaintiff and his granddaughter.  After a few minutes of riding in a fenced corral, the plaintiff and his granddaughter began to ride trails.  After some time of riding, the plaintiff’s saddle slipped resulting in the plaintiff’s injury.  The plaintiff sued, claiming that the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries because he allegedly failed to retighten the front girth of the saddle and utilize a cinch hobble to secure the saddle.  An expert witness testified that the accident was a result of the defendant’s failure to adequately tighten the plaintiff’s saddle.  The trial court held that the state (GA) Equine Activities Act barred the suit.  On appeal, the court affirmed on the basis that a slipping saddle was an inherent risk of horse riding.  Holcomb v. Long, No. A14A0815, 2014 Ga. App. LEXIS 726 (Ga. Ct. App. Nov. 10, 2014).

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