accident | 

Horse rider sues top trainer Jessica Harrington over injuries from fall

Exercise rider and now trainer Mark Fahey told the court that ‘the horse disappeared from underneath me. I hit the bank’

Racehorse trainer Jessica Harrington leaving the High Court Photo: Collins Courts


A racehorse rider who claims he was injured when he was thrown off a horse he was exercising for high profile trainer Jessica Harrington has sued in the High Court.

Exercise rider and now trainer Mark Fahey told the court that “the horse disappeared from underneath me. I hit the bank.”

He told Mr Justice Michael Hanna he was exercising the two year old gelding for the Harrington yard when the accident happened seven years ago.

His counsel Jonathan Kilfeather SC, instructed by Coonan Cawley solicitors, said at issue was the use of a stable bandage on one of the front legs of the horse which Mr Fahey believed was cut open by repeated striking of the bandage by the horse’s hind leg.

“It was the equine equivalent of standing on your own shoelace,” counsel said

The Harrington side which denies liability has contended the bandage used is the correct and safe one to use and is the type of bandage used worldwide for training horses.

It is further contended that what happened was an unfortunate accident which was not caused as a result of any alleged act or omission on the part of the Harrington side.

Mr Fahey (35) of Cloneygad, Monasterevin, Co Kildare has sued Ms Harrington of Commonstown Stud, Moone, Co Kildare and Jessica Harrington Racing, of the same address, as well as Commonstown Racing Stables Ltd with an office at Commonstown Stud.

On August 24, 2015, he claimed he was thrown from the horse while he was riding on a sand gallop.

He has claimed he was required to exercise a thoroughbred racehorse on the sand gallop while bandaged and when it was allegedly unsafe to do so.

He has further alleged a failure to ensure that the racehorse was exercised with protective boots rather than bandaging.

The racehorse was caused to trip up and lose his balance due to having allegedly cut open the bandages which had been applied to his forelegs, it is claimed.

Mr Fahey claimed he was thrown heavily to the ground and he suffered immediate and severe back pain as well as dental injuries and was taken to hospital.

The defendants deny the claims and say there was alleged contributory negligence on behalf of Mr Fahey in that he allegedly failed to exercise a reasonable level of care for his own safety and he was allegedly the author of his own misfortune.

In evidence, Mr Fahey said he had exercised the horse every day over two or three weeks and on the sand gallop five or six times.

He claimed on the day of the accident he was told they had to put on the stable bandages on the horse's front leg and he put insulating tape over the bandage.

He said after the fall he was in a lot of pain and told another rider to call an ambulance. He said he did not see what happened to the horse in the fall.

He said his teeth were broken in the incident and he was very grateful to Ms Harrington who paid for the dental work and also paid him for a time while he recovered from the fall.

Counsel for the Harrington side, Stephen Lanigan O’Keeffe SC put it to Mr Fahey that the reality is it was just not known what happened.

Mr Fahey replied it was a matter of opinion. Counsel suggested Mr Fahey was wrong to criticise the use of bandages. Mr Fahey replied he had not changed his opinion.

The case continues.

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