'Out of control' horse trampled trainer at event
WELL-known horse trainer Deirdre Bourns has been left tetraplegic after a horse trampled on her at a showjumping event, the High Court heard.
Mrs Bourns, who is now in a wheelchair, was knocked down and trampled by an out-of-control four-year-old horse which was being warmed up before an indoor championship competition.
The mother of international show jumper Andrew Bourns, Mrs Bourns was described in court as a "mighty impressive lady" who has managed to get back to work despite her injuries.
Her counsel said she was standing in the right place in an exercise arena watching a horse she had trained when she was knocked from behind and trampled by a horse called Miss Red which had "run out" at a practice jump and was out of control.
She has brought an action for damages, to include over €900,000 special damage, after the accident on September 19, 2012 at Cavan Equestrian Centre.
Mrs Bourns, Lisbeg Farms, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, has sued the Showjumping Association of Ireland trading as Showjumping Ireland of Osberstown, Naas , Co Kildare; Cavan Equestrian Centre Ltd, the owner of the centre in Latt, Co Cavan, and 'Miss Red's' rider, Hayley Dunne, Old Graigue, Maynooth, Co Kildare.
It is claimed there was a failure on the part of Show Jumping Ireland to exercise any or adequate supervision of shows and an alleged failure to ensure the presence of a safety steward at all times when a warm up arena is being used.
It is claimed that Cavan Equestrian Centre allowed the fences in the warm up area to be positioned too close to each other and allegedly failed to remove Miss Red from the warm up arena when the horse first manifested dangerous behaviour.
It is claimed the rider, Ms Dunne, failed to exercise any or any adequate control over Miss Red and that she allegedly allowed the horse to run out of control on at least two occasions prior to colliding with Mrs Bourns.
All the defendants deny the claims.
Opening the case, Stephen Lanigan O'Keeffe SC, for Mrs Bourns, said his client is a well-known horse producer and expert and was attending the championships with a horse she trained.
She was standing where she should be watching her own horse when Miss Red went out of control and ran her over from behind and trampled her rendering her tetraplegic immediately.
He said the accident had a catastrophic effect on Mrs Bourns and her family.
He said Miss Red ran over another woman after Mrs Bourns but that lady was unhurt.
Counsel said his side contended the horse was "running blind" prior to the accident.
Three days before at another show the same horse had "run out" on the second fence and bolted out of control, he said.
"You don't go from one disaster to another show," counsel added.
The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross continues.