A mother is calling for all parents to ensure their children are wearing proper safety wear after her daughter avoided life-threatening injuries as the result of being kicked in the face by her pony.
Angharad Jones’ daughter, Megan, was practising a dressage test on her pony, Mossy, on 17 January, when the animal lost its balance and fell. Mossy then spooked and kicked out, catching the child in the face.
Megan, aged six, fractured the left side of her face, and has had surgery to insert plates to rebuild her eye socket.
“I’m glad I insist she wears a body protector and hat every time she rides — these are part of the reason Megan is still with us,” said Mrs Jones.
“I want to encourage other parents to have their children fitted with safety standard hats and body protectors.
“You can’t put a price on safety. Megan hated wearing body protectors, so we had a bright pink one made for her, and now she loves wearing it.
“We can’t wrap children up in cotton wool, but we can protect them with quality, fitted safety wear.”
Mrs Jones said Megan is already asking to ride again.
“She’s still in pain, but she’s very cheerful,” she added.
James Hooker received serious facial injuries when he was kicked in the head after falling in the arena at home
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Sheila Hardy from the British Horse Society (BHS) echoed this warning.
“Megan and her mum appear to have taken every precaution to keep the rider safe and, while she has suffered some awful injuries, had she not been wearing the appropriate safety wear, it could have been so much worse,” she told H&H.
“It just goes to show how crucial it is that we make the right decision over the safety equipment that we wear — not only purchasing adequate protection but also ensuring that it is correctly fitted — and most importantly, that we actually wear it at all times when we are riding.”
But hat-wearing is not yet universal while riding at home, despite increasing calls for safety awareness.
The story of an 18-year-old whose life was saved by his hat received a huge response on HorseandHound.co.uk last year.
James Hooker suffered serious facial injuries in a fall at home. He came off after a jump and hit the manège fence. The horse then kicked his head.
The doctor who treated James said that he would almost certainly have died had he not been wearing his hat.
“I can’t understand why people think they’re too good to fall off. Horses are unpredictable and have a mind of their own,” he said.
Ref: Horse & Hound; 5 February 2015