First whip kennel huntsman sues a hunt for up to £200,000, claiming he fell from his horse while wearing a poorly fitted riding hat

A former first whip kennel huntsman is suing a hunt in Cornwall for up to £200,000, alleging he fell from his horse whilst wearing a badly fitted riding hat.

Edwin Bailey, 65, is seeking personal injury damages from the Western Hunt on the outskirts of Penzance after he was left with a “significant traumatic brain injury”.

Bailey’s case claims the defendants, seven named members of the hunt, breached Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations by providing him with unsuitable protective equipment. He is seeking between £150,000 and £200,000 in personal injury damages.

Bailey used his own hat at the beginning of employment with the Western Hunt, where he worked for 19 seasons, but the peak broke in 2007. He was taken to a supplier in Gloucester to obtain a replacement that was not custom made. The court papers state: “The hat that was bought was apparently the best fit although the claimant found it to be a little tight.”

Bailey, of Trafalgar Fields, Madron, says he was assured the snug fit would not be a problem, but was not given any further advice on caring for his hat and when it should be replaced. In October 2009, he was on horseback watching the road as the hunt passed when he was thrown off the horse and onto the road.

A friend of Mr Bailey said: “Working with hounds was his life and now he cannot work because the brain bleed caused by the fall has caused him memory problems, both long and short-term. He also has problems with balance and has not ridden since.

“He said had the hard hat been replaced when it should have been, it would have offered him proper protection in the event of a fall.

“The hat he was supplied with was over two years old. He said he is lucky he is still alive from the fall as the hard hat split open on impact.”

The master of the hunt at the time of the incident said it would be inappropriate to comment in detail.  “Most employers take precautions in the event for this sort of thing and the hunt is no different. He’s made a claim and it will be up to the court to decide,” he said.