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JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9013
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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If a horse was spooked by an sensor sprinkler hose system

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If a horse was spooked by an sensor sprinkler hose system that was activated by the horse passing on a public highway, with the sprinkler making a nose, the water then landing in the pond, making a splashing noise, spooking the horse further and some landing on the road beside the horse, is there anything legally the horse owner can do to have the sprinklers removed before there is a serious accident. The horse nearly reversed in to the neighbours car and another horse spun and headed for home, unseating the ride, who this time luckily landed on their feet. The lane is used by several horse riders and another child has fallen off already. The owner of the sprinklers has been approached but does not seem to think there is a problem. You advice would be most welcome - probably not your normal question!
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: In Suffolk.
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: It happened to me today and I was going to write a letter but thought I’d get some advice first. Another horse rider than spoke to me and said her horses had been spooked and that a child she was leading out on a ride had come off. This lady has spoken to the owner who claims she has lessened the flow and that it does not reach the road. It certainly reached the road today.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don’t think so.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you this evening.

If it was a one-off then there would be a defence which is that the incident was not reasonably foreseeable. However if the owner knows there has been a problem previously and does nothing, should an accident occur then the victim can claim the owner was on notice of the problem yet did nothing about it. So because they did nothing then there is a situation of negligence on their part. It is an accident waiting to happen, in other words. The remedies are to report this to the local council to see if they can deal with it, or an injunction taken out to force the owner to sort it out. The injunction is a serious legal remedy and generally the court will not grant one unless there is a genuine need to place a restriction on the owner - there has to be evidence that there is a genuine need for the injunction. The council should be able to help though as the sprinkler system is a likely hazard.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (the top right of your screen & then click “submit”), I can answer follow up Q&A's at no extra charge and I will be credited for helping you today.

Many thanks,


JimLawyer and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi, so if a write a letter asking them to do something about it, for example putting the sprinklers on the road side of the pond, because then the horse would not activate them (I am guessing they are a heron deterrent) and they ignore the request, I can then contact the council asking them to help? Thank you

Hi, yes you would have grounds to do so - the council will (or should at least) take note of your request because if not then you could launch Judicial Review proceedings against the council. That means that you ask a Judge to look in to the legality of the council's decision. The council is a public body and judicial review is a procedure whereby someone questions the legality of a public body's decision - if there is a problem and the council know all about it (but do nothing) then my view is the case would be a prime candidate for judicial review.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you.