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A rider left feeling like she had been “hit by a bus” after her horse reared and fell on her has credited her helmet for saving her life.

Ashburton-based Beth Shimell was hacking her loan horse Ruby just before Christmas when the accident took place.

Beth was riding with a group on Dartmoor when the usually well-behaved quarter horse Ruby “got a little too excited”.

“As I tried to keep her collected we had a disagreement, and she reared and toppled back on top of me,” said Beth.

“She landed on my pelvis and rolled around on top of me trying to get her footing, leaving me winded and trying to push her off.

“When she finally got up, she stood on the side of my knee and somehow kicked my head.”

Beth was taken to hospital and following a series of scans was given the all-clear.

“The next day I felt like I had been hit by a bus, I was black and blue and had a perfect horse shoe mark on my knee,” she said.

Beth believes her helmet saved her from a far more serious injury.

“I was wearing a Harry Hall hat and I believe that saved my life,” she said.

“She kicked me square in the head just above the peak.

“As riders we always hear about hat safety and why it’s important to wear one. I’ve never ridden without one but never thought I’d find out why it’s so important.

“If it wasn’t for that hat I’d be undergoing some serious surgery. I really believe that hat saved my life. I could be half the person I am today.”

Beth returned to work at Moretonhampstead’s Miniature Pony Centre the following day and was back in the saddle the next week. Ruby was not injured in the fall.

“I don’t blame my mare for what happened, it was excitement that got the better of her,” she told H&H.

“I’m still riding, hasn’t affected me in anyway. I was still very bruised [when she first started riding again] but wanted to get back in the saddle.

“The only thing I have to show for it now is slight muscle trauma on the side of my knee where she stood on me.

“I had one day off work, and although I was a bit slow and couldn’t do certain things like lifting hay bales, I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing.”

Beth is urging other riders always to wear a helmet and to pay attention to its condition and fit.

“I have never ridden without a hat, even if I knew a horse was 100% safe, it’s not worth the risk,” she said.

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“Ruby has never done anything like that before and it just goes to show any horse is capable of doing something silly and injuring the rider.

“She didn’t intend to harm me at all, it was just excitement that got a little out of hand.”

A spokesman for Harry Hall said the company is “always pleased” to hear when its hats or body protectors have done their job and helped keep a rider safe.

“Beth’s hat, the Harry Hall Legend, has been a hugely popular hat for years and of course meets all the current safety standards,” she told H&H.

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