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Disappointed Show Jumper Wins £42,500 Breach of Contract Claim

Horse in FieldA talented show jumper whose hopes of competing in the 2012 Olympics were shattered when her ride was taken from her by his owner, in breach of contract, has won £42,500 damages.

The woman had worked wonders with the horse in their four years together and had high hopes of making the British equestrian team. Under a contract with his owner, she had exclusive rights to ride the horse competitively. However, the horse was eventually removed from her stables and handed to a higher profile rider.

She succeeded in her breach of contract claim against the owner and her damages were assessed by a judge on the basis that, by her training efforts, she had increased the horse’s value from £30,000 to £200,000. She was entitled to 25% of the difference between those two figures.

In rejecting the owner’s appeal against that decision, the Court of Appeal found that it was not open to him to challenge the evidence of a jointly-instructed valuation expert. The judge was amply entitled to rely upon that evidence when assessing the woman’s contribution to the horse’s value.

Gilruth v Harding. Case Number: B2/2014/3490