May 28, 2014
By Lyn Barton, WMN reporter, Twitter: @BartonLyn
A Westcountry hunt is being sued for up to £200,000 by a former employee who said he was left disabled following a fall from a horse while wearing a badly fitting riding hat.
Edwin Bailey issued the claim in the High Court which seeks personal injury damages from the Western Hunt, which is based in Madron, a village on the outskirts of Penzance.
Mr Bailey, who was employed as a first whip kennel huntsman, said he was left with a “significant traumatic brain injury” after his horse was spooked during a meet in October 2009 and he fell off.
He is claiming between £150,000 and £200,000 over his injuries after he said the defendants, seven named members of the hunt, breached Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations by providing him with unsuitable protective equipment.
Mr Bailey, of Trafalgar Fields, Madron, worked for 19 seasons for the Western Hunt in a job which saw him looking after all aspects of the hounds’ welfare and involved him riding on horseback.
In the claim, Mr Bailey said that at the start of his employment he rode with his own hat as he was not supplied with one, however when the peak broke in 2007 he was taken to a supplier in Gloucester to obtain a new one.
Mr Bailey claims in the court papers that he was not offered a choice in where the new riding hat was purchased from.
The papers said: “The claimant tried on a number of hats, none of which were custom made. The hat that was bought was apparently the best fit although the claimant found it to be a little tight.”
The claim says that Mr Bailey was assured the snug fit would not be a problem, but he was given no further advice on how to care for his hat, when it should be worn and when it should be replaced.
In October 2009, Mr Bailey was on horseback watching the road as the hunt went from Forest Carne to Trengwainton Farm, near Penzance. when the incident occurred.
The papers submitted to court say: “At this point his horse spooked and he was thrown off his horse onto the road.
“He does not recall anything more than that. He was unconscious at the scene.”
The action makes a number of allegations against the Western Hunt, including that it failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment for his work and failed to instruct him on how to look after the gear that he had been given.
Ben Sparrow, who was master of the Western Hunt at the time of the incident, told the Western Morning News that the matter was in the hands of the hunt’s insurers and it would be inappropriate to comment.
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