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Eventer kicked in the face calls for riders to consider hats on the ground after ‘lucky’ escape

A rider who was kicked in the head while leading a normally calm and well-behaved eventer has encouraged others to consider wearing a hat when handling horses.

Stacey Shimmons, who has worked with horses from breakers to top competition horses for more than 20 years and has ridden up to five-star level, was walking off her final horse after a weekend competing at Burnham Market (2) on Sunday (13 September) when the accident happened.

“He had gone cross-country, I’d washed him off and I was taking him for a walk and a pick of grass,” she told H&H, adding that he was spooked by signs next to the stable manager’s office.

“He went to run across me because he was scared and I thought ‘I was lucky to escape that’. Then he suddenly turned and double-barreled and just caught me.”

Stacey said her reactions are quick, and that he is “a very sensible horse”, so wanted her experience to serve as a reminder to others that things can happen when you least expect them, and to consider wearing a hat on the ground, particularly in buzzy situations.

Stacey was treated on site by medics and went to A&E later that day for a check-up.

Luckily, the blow and the stud did not do more damage, but the injury was deeper than it first appeared and required cleaning and stitching.

Stacey added that she is very conscious about wearing a hat in many situations handling horses on the ground — such as lunging or dealing with young and unpredictable animals — and that her accident has raised her awareness of how easily and quickly even experienced equestrians can be caught out.

“I was very lucky,” she said.

“At events you are in a completely different environment and horses are unpredictable — it can just happen so quickly.”

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