TAGS:

A rider is warning others of the importance of wearing safety helmets after her horse stood on her head, leaving a “big dent” in her hat.

Steph Ritchie, 20, was hacking her 13-year-old Irish mare Boots along Middlewood Way, Cheshire on Saturday (27 October) afternoon when the mare spooked, resulting in Steph falling off.

Steph told H&H: “There were donkeys being led towards us. Boots took a strong dislike to them and ran backwards into a low fence, flipped over and fell on top of me. She crushed my leg and as she stood up she stood on my hat.

“Boots initially ran off, then she came cantering back whinnying and stood as far away from the donkeys as possible. My friend who I was hacking with caught her and the owner of the donkeys stayed with me and called an ambulance.”

Steph was taken to hospital for a brain scan, which came back clear, and sustained a black eye, a cut which required stitches, bruising and a ruptured tendon in her calf.

“I’ve to go back to the hospital this week for an ultrasound on my calf. At the time I was more worried about Boots and that she was ok,” she said.

“It was a really scary situation to be in. If it wasn’t for my hat, it could have been much worse.”



Steph shared pictures of her damaged helmet on social media and is urging other riders to always wear one.

The pictures don’t show how bad it is, but there’s a big indentation where Boots stood on it. It was frightening when I saw the damage to my hat; things could have been a lot worse if I wasn’t wearing it,” said Steph.

“Every time I see a post online about an accident it’s a reminder that you do always need to wear a hat no matter what horse you’re on. Most people are very good, but you still find the odd person not wearing one. Wearing a hat can make all the difference.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.