AS GOOVIGEN farmer Nathan Cahill pushed the horse to a speed of 60kmh during a pursuit of a breakaway herd of cattle, he had no idea the animal was suffering big head disease.
A claim seeking close to $1m in damages, lodged with the Supreme Court at Rockhampton last week, says without warning the horse stumbled before collapsing as it reached the herd.
The 41-year-old musterer suffered serious injuries in the March 2008 fall, including fractures to his right shoulder and ribs as well as to his neck, pelvis, forehead right eye and lung damage.
Cahill, who was a contestant on Channel Nine's The Farmer Wants a Wife a few years ago, alleges the grazier who ran the Bauhinia Downs property, Gregory Bowden, had been told the horse suffered from the disease before the fall and was aware the animal exhibited "troublesome and difficult behaviour".
The claim says the owner knew or ought to have known the horse should not be ridden.
A website on horse health matters, Equimed, said big head, or bran disease as it is also known, is a bone disorder found in horses.
The site said a horse should be considered not safe for riding until the problem had been properly treated.
The claim is for $991,588.
Mr Bowden yesterday said the matter was being handled by WorkCover.
A spokesperson for WorkCover said the organisation generally didn't comment on claims for privacy reasons.