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Bodey v, Hall, QBD, 5/08/11


David Pittaway QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court, dismissed the claimant's claim for damages under the Animal's Act 1971 in respect of serious head injuries sustained by her when she was thrown from a trap that was being pulled by the defendant's horse. For reasons unknown, the horse had become startled by an unknown stimulus. Mr. Pittaway QC held that the predisposition of a horse to react to an unknown stimulus by running away was a characteristic of an animal and as it was a normal reaction in the particular circumstances of confrontation with an unknown stimulus, it was held that section 2(b) of the Act was satisfied. However, the claim was ultimately dismissed on grounds that as an experienced horsewoman, the claimant had voluntarily assumed the risk of the trap tilting and thus the exception to liability under section 5(2) of the Act applied.