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A young American rider and her mother are urging others to wear a safety hat every time they ride, after doctors credited her riding helmet for saving her life.

Kyra Wood, aged 10, from Oregon, recently took a bad fall from her pony Pasha.

“She was pretending to be a jockey and going quite fast,” explained her mother Alison. “The pony put in a buck and she went off like a spear into the ground.”

Kyra fractured and chipped a vertebra and tore a muscle attached to it. She is now on bed-rest but recovering well.

“We were so lucky; holding her helmet the doctors were astounded that she did not have a traumatic brain injury, and she isn’t even concussed,” said Alison.

“I get so emotional because that helmet saved her life. This would be a completely different conversation if she hadn’t been wearing that helmet.”

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The family came over to Britain for the Olympics in 2012 and went riding near Oxford.

“Kyra borrowed a Harry Hall Legend helmet, which she loved because it fitted her really well and it’s colourful. Back home I searched everywhere for one and ended up ordering one online from Britain,” added Alison.

“Kyra wears it all the time because it fits and it’s cute. We owe a huge thank you to Harry Hall. I really hope sharing her story will encourage others to wear a helmet.”

Max Wakefield, Harry Hall’s development director, said: “We at Harry Hall understand that children’s skulls, though lighter, are more fragile than adults.

“As such they need specially designed helmets to absorb this energy.

“We undertake rigorous testing but nothing can really replicate what happens in the field. Therefore, stories like these are reward enough for the effort, time and expertise we put into safety products.”