Event organisers and riders have called for British Eventing (BE) to review the insurance it provides for members in the wake of a recent incident that has left rider Sam Penn with an excess of £250 to pay — should she be found to have been negligent.
The claim stems from a fall at Tweseldown (8 March) when Miss Penn’s horse, Boundalong, reared in the cross-country start box and fell backwards.
As the mare came down, she damaged the unit for time-keeping officials and knocked off and broke a pair of glasses belonging to the starter.
The event organiser, Brynley Powell, and the starter — who was a volunteer — subsequently submitted insurance claims to BE for damage to the start box and for a replacement pair of glasses.
“The first I knew about the claim or the excess was in an email from BE three weeks after the event,” said Miss Penn, who was left with serious bruising as a result of the fall.
“The incident was unfortunate, but I do not believe that I have been negligent. Boundalong had never done anything like it before and she has been out competing at three-star level since,” she added.
BE’s insurance policy covers personal liability cover for organisers and third party liability for members. Under the terms of that cover, in the event that legal liability can be attributed to a member, they must pay the £250 excess.
Wendy McGowan, BE financial director, said: “There is a download on the BE website, where the terms of the insurance, including the excess, are clearly identified.
“When we renew our policies each year, we review their appropriateness and consider excess levels.”
But Adele Schart, chair of the British Eventing Organisers Association (BEOA), told H&H she was unaware of the excess: “For a rider — or a volunteer, who is giving up their time for free — £250 is a lot of money.
“I will be raising the issue with BE on behalf of the BEOA.”
The claim against Miss Penn is being considered.