Instructor caused horse to bolt. Can I sue?

I was having a riding lesson when the horse stopped to go to the toilet, the instructor told me to make the horse walk on, so I gave a little kick and the horse didn’t respond. The instructor came up behind the horse and tapped its side with a whip she was holding. I was unprepared for this and only on my sixth riding lesson, just off the lunge rein. The horse bolted to the other end of the arena and stopped dead. I went over the top and hit a 5-bar gate, fracturing my arm. Can I sue? 

Answer

Yes, it would appear that you have grounds for a successful claim. 

To be successful in a personal injury claim you need to be able to establish that the person or establishment that you are pursuing has been negligent. 

Negligence is defined as a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.  You would need to prove that the instructor’s conduct was the cause of your harm and financial loss.

We would argue that the reasonable instructor would not have used a whip on a horse, particularly unexpectedly (to both horse and rider), with a rider on board. The fact that you are a novice only enhances your prospects of bringing a successful claim.