Rider whose horse landed on her ‘saved’ by safety helmet

A rider whose horse rolled on top of her after a showjumping fall at Hickstead has credited her helmet for saving her from more serious injury.

Grace Walker Raper’s nine-year-old gelding Alvaro De Reve tripped on landing after the water in a 1.25m derby on Thursday (23 June).

“Alvin” landed on Grace, who had been thrown over his head, then rolled on top of her as he tried to get up.

“I remember seeing the plasticine strip at the edge of the water and thinking I’d landed on it – and that’s all I do remember,” Grace told H&H.

“The doctors couldn’t believe I wasn’t more badly hurt – I haven’t even broken my nose, although I’ve got two enormous black eyes!”

Grace said her fall is a reminder of the importance of wearing a helmet of the appropriate safety standard. Her Charles Owen SP8 has a wider peak than many hats, to give protection from the sun, and although this was bent upwards in the impact, the shell appears undamaged. Grace said she will not wear it again and is to buy a replacement.

“I knocked myself out in a fall from the same horse a while ago, when I was wearing a different hat, and I felt much worse that time than I do now,” she said.

“The doctors told [my sister] Alice first that they weren’t fearing for my life any more, then that there wasn’t any brain damage, then that I hadn’t even broken any bones, and that I was very lucky.”

Grace said she always wears a hat whenever she is riding.

“But you see people who don’t, even jumping,” she said. “Horses are so dangerous anyway, even hacking, you could have a fall.

“People should just always wear one, and one that’s up to standard; Alice has realised the one she wears at home wasn’t to the right standard, and she wears that one more than her show hat.”

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Alvin was unharmed and, having been checked by a vet, has been given the green light to hack out this week.

Grace’s sister Alice Clennan added: “She is the luckiest person in the world not to have broken any bones but having an up-to-date helmet, which we believe is one of the safest on the market, definitely saved her life.”

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