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‘Harsh reality’: stud damage to top rider’s hat shows importance of the correct headgear

Pictures showing the damage caused to a top rider’s hat when she fell in front of her horse show how important it is to be wearing the right safety helmet.

US Olympic gold medal-winning showjumper Laura Kraut broke her nose and suffered concussion and cuts when she fell from 11-year-old mare Jakata, who trod on her, at a show on 31 July.

Manufacturer Charles Owen this week shared pictures of her hat, with the stud Jakata was wearing, stating that worse injuries were prevented not only because she was wearing a helmet, but because it was one of a high standard.

Laura told H&H she does not remember the fall, in a 1.45m ranking class.

“I jumped into a two-stride double, over a triple bar, and it was a very short two; two horses before me had only put one stride in,” she said.

“When she jumped in, I sat back and held her together as I knew it was short, but she saw one and leapt. Because I was sitting back, I was rocketed forward, so when she landed after the second element, I was up her neck, I tried to hang on but couldn’t.

“I was knocked out, so don’t remember anything but I fell in front of her, and because she was cantering, she cantered over me.

“The horse was fine, which had been my first concern; she was wonderful and did what she thought was right.”

Laura Kraut injured in fall

Laura Kraut, pictured at the 2018 World Equestrian Games

Laura, who was back at shows three weeks later, said she never rides without a helmet, at any time.

“I will not get on a horse without one,” she said.

“I’d always known Charles Owen’s were the hats I felt most comfortable in; I’ve always said to them that if they didn’t sponsor me, I’d still wear their hats as I think they’re the safest, but it was nice to see the protection it gave me.”

Charles Owen marketing director Alex Burek told H&H: “What happened to Laura is shocking but a harsh reality of what can happen in our sport, to any rider, regardless of experience, talent or discipline.

“We have been talking to riders for many years about the importance of PAS 015 – this is the standard that tests for the same type of impact as Laura had, where the stud in the horse’s shoe impacted the rider’s helmet. If your helmet does not show this PAS 015:2011 BSI kitemark on the label, your helmet is not designed to withstand this level of crush or stud injury.

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“If anything good can come from this kind of accident, it is that lessons can be learned, and this should first be that riders wear a properly fitted helmet, one that meets multiple standards including PAS 015:2011 and that their helmet is not more than five years old.

“There was no doubt that Laura’s injuries would have been more severe had her helmet not met the PAS 015:2011 standard.

“Our in-house safety team test every helmet to the highest possible standards and 90% of Charles Owen helmets meet three standards or more.”

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