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Your Horse column – Am I responsible for the safety of people walking through my field?

Q I own a four-acre field which has a footpath running through it.

Am I responsible for the safety of any walkers who walk through the field, which is grazed by my two, often boisterous, yearlings, or is it a case of walker beware?

A Generally, you are under a duty to take reasonable precautions for the safety of walkers on your land. It is not an unusual characteristic for a yearling to be boisterous. Were a walker to be injured an equine expert is most likely to conclude that they acted out of inquisitiveness rather than aggression.

A Claimant would have to prove that you as the owner had knowledge that the yearling was likely to be dangerous or attack. The yearling’s behaviour is most likely to be interpreted as playful as opposed to vicious and any injury arising would be unintentional meaning that you are unlikely to be liable in negligence.

Having said that you are aware that they are boisterous. I could see a Claimant trying to pursue a claim based on your prior knowledge. As a precaution I suggest fencing is put in place so that you are 100% secure.

PDF Document: What to do if your field has public access.pdf

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