University of Vermont AAHS

Kinara v. Jamaica Bay Riding Academy

New York Appellate Division
783 N.Y.S.2d 636
October 18, 2004

 

Summary of Opinion

 

Plaintiff was injured during a trail ride when she was kicked by the defendantís horse.  The trial court granted summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff was informed the horse was wild and unpredictable.  In this opinion, the Appellate Division agrees with that decision.

 

Text of Opinion

 

 In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Kramer, J.), dated March 28, 2003, which granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment.

 

 ORDERED that the order is affirmed, with costs.

 

 The plaintiff sustained injuries while horseback riding on a trail maintained by the defendant. The plaintiff was kicked by a horse owned by the defendant and ridden by the plaintiff's friend. The plaintiff, a horseback rider for 15 years, heard the trail guide comment at the beginning of the ride that the horse was "wild" and observed the horse kicking before the incident. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff assumed an inherent risk in the sports activity of horseback riding. The Supreme Court granted the defendant's motion, finding that the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact. We affirm.

 

 The defendant submitted prima facie evidence that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury, because a horse kicking or acting in an unintended manner is inherent, usual, and ordinary (see Lewis v. Erie County Agric. Socy., 256 A.D.2d 1114; Rubenstein v. Woodstock Riding Club, 208 A.D.2d 1160, 1161; see also Morgan v. State of New York, 90 N.Y.2d 471, 484), the plaintiff was aware that the horse was "wild" (see Wendt v. Jacus, 288 A.D.2d 889, 890), and the plaintiff had 15 years of horseback riding experience (see Morgan v. State of New York, supra at 485‑486; Turcotte v. Fell, 68 N.Y.2d 432, 440; Duffy v. Suffolk County High School Hockey League, 289 A.D.2d 368, 369; Rubenstein v. Woodstock Riding Club, supra ). The burden of proof then shifted to the plaintiff, who failed to raise a triable issue of fact (see Winegrad v. New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 N.Y.2d 851; Alvarez v. Prospect Hosp., 68 N.Y.2d 320). In addition, the plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant intentionally or recklessly created an unreasonable risk (see Turcotte v. Fell, supra at 439; cf. Morgan v. State of New York, supra at 488-489; Millan v. Brown, 295 A.D.2d 409; Irish v. Deep Hollow, 251 A.D.2d 293). Under these circumstances, the Supreme Court properly granted the defendant's motion.


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