Nine-year-old Rachael Foster has died of head injuries after being kicked twice by a friend’s horse. The horse, Sally, started fighting with Rachael’s pony Mon Ami after the pair stopped for a snack outside a supermarket in Ince, near Wigan, Greater Manchester.

Rachael jumped off her pony while her friend went into theshop and Sally was being held by another friend out riding with them.

As Rachael dismounted to try and separate the animals, it appears that she was pushed behind Sally by her own recently bought pony. Sally lashed out – the first kick hit Rachael’s back knocking her to her knees, while the second caught her on the back of the head beneath her riding helmet which was not damaged.

Nineteen-year-old Rachel Dixon, who was also with the party that had just completed a two-mile hack, told the Daily Mail: “She just lay there motionless.”

First-aiders from the supermarket helped until the ambulance arrived to take Rachael to Wigan Infirmary. She was then moved to the intensive care unit at Manchester Hospitalin Pendlebury where she died the following day.

Rachael, a police sergeant’s daughter, had been riding since she was six.

Mon Ami was kept at stables owned by Eric Staniforth at Low Hall Farm, Hindley, and he will continue looking after the pony until Rachael’s parents decide what to do with her.

Wendy Peckham of the British Horse Society said: “Horses were wild animals and do have a base survival instinct, and it could have been that the mare felt threatened by the other pony. It was dreadfully unfortunate that the girl was fatefully injured in what was a freak accident. It is very sad.”