Case name: Gogel v. Hancock, No. 2011-CA-001143-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 12/22/11).
Ruling: The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a horse exercise rider was not entitled to benefits.
What it means: In Kentucky, a horse trainer is not required to provide workers' compensation coverage for an exercise rider who is not an employee.
Summary: An exercise rider rode horses trained by a trainer. He suffered an injury when a horse he was riding pulled back, sat, and rolled onto her side and the rider's left leg. He suffered a fracture and underwent two surgeries. He sought workers' compensation benefits from the trainer. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that he was not entitled to benefits.
The court concluded that the rider was an independent contractor. The trainer provided the place where the rider worked and the horses and other tools necessary for him to perform his work. Exercising horses was a part of the trainer's regular business. The rider rode only the trainer's horses, although he admitted that he was free to ride for other trainers. The trainer provided a general outline of the work he wanted the rider to perform. The rider was free to come and go as he pleased, and he could choose not to exercise a horse if he thought the horse would be harmed. He was required to obtain a license from the state. The court said that a certain skill set was necessary to perform the services the rider performed. Also, the trainer paid the rider per ride, and the rider treated the pay as business income.
The rider argued that public policy mandated coverage of his injury. The court explained that before a trainer is required to provide coverage for a rider, the rider must be an employee. Here, the rider was not an employee of the trainer.
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February 6, 2012
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