Saturday 24 February 2018

Dentist sues over hen party pony trek injuries

Maria Gray: Thrown from pony. Photo: Courtpix
Maria Gray: Thrown from pony. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

A dentist claims she was injured when an unsuitable pony she had been given on her first time riding buckled under her from hunger and exhaustion.

Maria Gray (33), Saintfield Road, Belfast, told the High Court the animal, which was allegedly only suitable for a child under 14, had been worked before she got on it on a very hot day and was so hungry it kept stopping to eat grass.

She claimed the pony, called 'Chancer', was "on its last legs" when its legs buckled going downhill, throwing her and injuring her chin and wrist.

She is suing Gerard and Siobhan Feeney, trading as Feeney's Riding School, Thonabrocky, near Galway City, over the incident on July 15, 2013.

She claims they supplied her with an unsuitably small animal for a 10 stone 5lb woman, 5 foot 8.5 inches in height. She also claims she did not receive any instructions on how to ride.

The defendants deny the claims, say the pony was suitable and she was given riding instructions.

Ms Gray, a married mother-of-three, said she was on a pony trek as part of a hen weekend.

She thought her animal looked "very aged and seemed to be on its last legs". She felt strongly Chancer had been out earlier with some children.

Her group did a little trotting and shortly afterwards made its way down an incline when Chancer's legs buckled throwing her on to the tarmac.

She went to hospital where she received five stitches to her chin, leaving a scar. She said it is visible to her patients when she is working on their teeth.

An injury to her wrist got worse, she said. She eventually had wear a splint and receive physiotherapy and was out of work for eight weeks.

Under cross-examination, she disputed she had horse riding experience from having previously been on a pony trek during a summer holiday when she was 12 or 13.

She denied she was offered a bigger horse called 'Dreamer' but had turned it down.

The case continues before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam.

Irish Independent

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