“Don’t take chances with your life, always wear a hat,” Carol Challinor, mother to 15-year-old Kelly-Ann who suffered a horrific fall six years ago, has warned.
Her daughter was riding a borrowed horse when it reared up throwing her off backwards.
Mum Carol told H&H: “He was up at his full height when he fell down onto her, the force of his head hitting her square in the face was just incredible.
“Her face was just crushed.”
Kelly-Ann, who had been riding since she was five and knew the horse well, was rushed to Addenbrooke’s hospital where she was placed in a drug-induced coma for five days.
She had a fracture running across her forehead, her nose was in three pieces and her jaw was complete detached. Doctors reconstructed her face with wire and metal plates.
Kelly-Ann made a miraculous recovery and was back on her horse within five months.
In 2010 she came 5th in her arena at the British Riding Club Championships Junior Novice section on loan horse Edward.
However her mother is well aware that without her hat things could have been much different: “The 3-D image of her head is undeniable proof that her hat saved her life, without it she would not be with us today.
“I would say to anyone who rides without a hat; just don’t do it.
“It does not matter how good you are horses are such unpredictable creatures that anything can happen.
“Her hat was professionally fitted and the correct size, therefore she sustained no injuries where it protected her skull.
“Riding without one is just not worth the risk.”
In last week’s H&H poll 92% of people asked said that they ride a hat every time that they ride.