Event rider ‘lucky to still be here’ after kick to the head

  • Event rider Gina Ruck is warning fellow horse owners and riders to wear a hat while handling horses.

    Gina was kicked in the head while turning out a horse in the field on Wednesday (16 December).

    “I was rushed off in an ambulance after being kicked in the head by one of the horses in the field,” she wrote on Facebook.

    “Luckily I managed to use my phone for my mum to find me just in time.

    “Thanks to Dave Burton for being there too and bringing the horses in so the ambulance could get to me.

    “I feel incredibly lucky to still be here. I have had a big blow to the head and also quite a big gash.

    “Please think about wearing a hat when turning horses out and bringing them in! I definitely will now.”

    Gina is now home “all stitched up and doing ok, just with a very big headache”.

    “I really hope I have encouraged people to wear hats when around horses, as I have been so very lucky,” she said. “Hopefully not a too long recovery now.”

    Gina is the second rider this year to issue a similar warning.

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    In July Claire Balysz credited her hat for saving her life after she was kicked in the head while leading in a youngster.

    Claire, from Foxhills in Romsey, was leading in a 16hh warmblood youngster from a pen into a stable on 21 July when the horse kicked out.

    “There were no issues with his behaviour, he was being like a dog on a lead and we stopped so he could pick at the grass on the way,” she told H&H.

    “I ended up lying under 700kgs of horse. I was wearing a hat and it undeniably saved my life.”

    Last May H&H reported that serious and fatal head injuries are just as likely to happen on the ground as they are when mounted, according to a study.

    Equestrian-related admissions at the University of Kentucky Trauma Registry revealed that there were equal rates of head injury for both riders and handlers over a five-year period.

    All three of the deaths recorded were handlers on the ground rather than riders. One was caused by a kick to the head, another a kick to the chest and the third after a fall from a trailer when loading a horse.

    As a result of the survey researchers concluded the “findings reinforce the need for protective equipment usage at all times around horses.

    However, many riders only wear a hat when riding.

    Mrs Balysz — whose daughter Eleanor was on the 2014 Pony Europeans team — urged others to think twice.

    “I would like to raise awareness that the dangers are not just when we are on board these majestic animals and while it isn’t ‘the done thing’ to wear a hat on the ground, it probably should be happening a lot more,” she said.

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