Soldier kicked in head by stallion at McKee barracks awarded €18,000
A young soldier, who was kicked in the head while grooming a stallion at McKee Barracks, Dublin, has been awarded €18,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Barrister Frank Beatty said Aoife Flood was clipping a new stallion, “Colonel Clover,” at the Army Equitation School on 8 January, 2009 when the horse reared up and kicked her.
Private Flood, a 26-year-old groom, of Glenview Park, Tallaght, Dublin, said she had been directed by Captain Michael Kelly to clip the horse.
She told Judge Alan Mahon that she had noticed earlier that Colonel Clover tried to kick another groom.
She had asked Captain Kelly if the horse would be OK to clip and he had told her it would.
The court heard Colonel Clover had become unstable and she had needed the assistance of another groom.
They had applied a “twitch” (a noose and stick) to the horse’s head to calm him down.
Private Flood said Colonel Clover reared up, broke his cross ties and kicked her to the head and shoulders, knocking her to the floor.
She said she had been taken by ambulance to St Bricin’s Military Hospital, Dublin, where she was referred to the Mater University Hospital for treatment.
She had suffered from headaches, dizziness and bruising to the back of her head and left shoulder.
Flood, who initially returned to light “office duties” said she had been off work for two weeks and had undergone physiotherapy sessions for two years.
She had since developed a fear of horses.
She had not been provided with a helmet or safety equipment to groom the horse and denied that Captain Kelly had told her to come back to him if the horse became frisky while clipping him.
Captain Kelly told the court he had asked Ms Flood to clip the horse.
He said Colonel Clover had not shown signs of nervousness before the incident.
Judge Mahon said Ms Flood should have been provided with a helmet and protective equipment.
Awarding her €18,000 damages against the Minister for Defence, the judge said her injuries could have been much more serious.