Horse Show Judge Sues USEF

Horse Show Judge Sues USEF

The United States Equestrian Federation has been added to a civil suit filed by a horse show judge. The amended complaint filed this month by plaintiff Deborah Cain alleges the association was negligent due to the inaction of a show steward.

Cain, an Arabian judge, was working at the MSU Summer Showcase in 2010 when she was allegedly trampled by a junior rider’s loose horse. As the competitors entered the show ring, Cain states she asked the ringmaster to stop the class, because one horse and rider pair was not safely under control. When the girl stopped her mount, the saddle slid under the arabian, A. Kalisto Baceo, causing the child to fall. The horse bolted and ran at Cain, “knocking her to the ground and causing the horse’s left hind hoof to hit [her] face.” She sustained injuries to her face, and over other parts of her body.

The complaint alleges the USEF breached its duty, because the supervising steward allowed the horse, which showed “unsafe and erratic behavior” in the warm-up, to compete with the inexperienced rider.
Court documents allege others were also negligent, including the horse’s owner, Kristiina Burkart of Classicala Farm, and the trainer. The plaintiff states the co-defendants did not properly adjust the horse’s tack, and that they knew the horse had a prior history of “unsafe and erratic behavior while being ridden.”
A motion has been filed to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent, and defend the minor’s interests, since the child is named in the suit.
Michigan State University was originally named in the suit, but the college’s motion for dismissal was granted by the judge without prejudice in December. The show took place on the University’s property.
Cain reportedly sustained serious injuries from the incident, which left her “disfigured.” Documents state she will need additional medical care in the future.