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The mother of a young rider has spoken of the importance of wearing a safety hat — after her son suffered terrible facial injuries in a fall at home, despite wearing a helmet.

James Hooker, 18, was jumping one of the family’s horses at their yard near Swansea when the accident happened.

He came off after the jump and hit the manège fence. The horse then kicked his head.

James was kicked in the head as he lay on the ground

James was kicked in the head as he lay on the ground

“The hat split down one side,” Jackie Hooker told H&H.

“James chipped his eye socket, chipped his right shoulder blade and the horse’s hoof gashed his cheek.

“The cut went right through into his mouth — you could see his teeth through it,” she added.

James's hat took the impact of the kick, splitting down one side

James’s hat took the impact of the kick, splitting down one side

The doctor who treated James said that he would almost certainly have died, had he not been wearing his hat.

Mrs Hooker added: “The important thing is that however bad his face looks, the doctor in A&E said he would have been killed outright if he’d not been wearing a hat.”

James is now back at home and says he is starting to feel “a bit better”.

The horse that he fell off was a six-year-old Cleveland Bay called Jack whom the family has owned since a foal.

The horse involved in the accident was a six-year-old, owned by the family from a foal

The horse involved in the accident was a six-year-old, owned by the family from a foal

James told H&H: “I started riding when I was three and have always worn a hat.

“I wouldn’t dream of getting on a horse without one.

“I can’t understand why people think they’re too good to fall off. Horses are unpredictable and have a mind of their own.”

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