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Helmet ‘saves young rider from breaking her neck’ in rotational fall

The mother of a girl who doctors thought could have broken her neck in a rotational fall were it not for her helmet is urging others to put safety before everything.

Robyn Byrne and her pony Cracker fell while jumping an oxer at a Forces Equine show at Arena UK on Sunday (6 October).

Mum Nikki Byrne told H&H the combination appeared to miss the correct stride.

“He hit the back rail of the oxer and did a full rotational fall,” she said.

“She flipped and her head hit the ground but her helmet took all the impact.”

Nikki said medics were on hand instantly and Robyn was taken to hospital, where she had to have stiches inside her mouth but otherwise escaped injury. Cracker, a 16-year-old Welsh section D, has a sore shoulder, and has undergone treatment and “pampering” but was otherwise uninjured.

Nikki said she had thought the Samshield hat, which she bought for Robyn for her birthday this year, was expensive – but is glad she paid the price.

“From what the doctor said, the hat saved her from breaking her neck,” Nikki said.

“There’s a lot of talk about how much hats cost but to me, safety is paramount.

“She was jumping 90cm so she must have been about six feet in the air when they fell and the hat’s taken all that impact, and the external structure of it hasn’t broken at all.”

Nikki had paid extra to have the hat personalised for Robyn but she said Samshield hopes to be able to transfer the “bling” to another hat, so she will only have to pay for a new helmet itself.

She added that they had forgotten to take Robyn’s body protector to the show so she was not wearing it when she fell.

“That was a big lesson learned – if we forget it again, she’s not jumping, simple as that,” Nikki said. “It’s just not worth it.

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“They’d been smashing it all summer – she won at Trailblazers and the British Riding Club championships – then this happened at her last event before Cracker has a rest.

“But she walked away. When my parents heard what I’d spent on the hat, they said ‘how much?’, but they’ve since said they totally understand. It was worth every penny.” 

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