Riding hat saves rider's life after loose dog spooks horse

Viv warming up on her horse before a dressage competiton. Wearing her new hat. 

Viv warming up on her horse before a dressage competiton. Wearing her new hat. 

A horse rider has credited her riding hat with saving her life after she was thrown from her horse.

Viv Spencer suffered a fall from her horse after a loose dog ran onto her land, causing her horse to panic, bolt and kick.

Viv received a kick to the head and leg, but didn’t suffer any serious injuries thanks to her new hat.

Admitting that she “begrudgingly” purchased a new hat so she could meet British Dressage standard prior to her accident, Viv now realises that investing in a good hat is “worth every penny”.  

She says: “This happened at home where you least expect it. I have to say I've been guilty of not wearing a hat in the past, but never again. I dread to think what would have happened if I hadn’t been wearing one”.

The British Horse Society is urging dog owners to be more mindful, and to put their dogs on a lead when they see a horse.

Sarah Phillips, the BHS’ Chief Operating Officer said: “This just goes to show why it is so important that riders wear a riding hat that meets the current safety standards.

"As this incident shows, dogs can cause horses to panic and bolt, so we would urge all owners to keep their dog on a lead when they see a horse.”

The British Horse Society has had over 1,000 incidents involving dogs and horses reported to them since 2010, of these more than 450 horses and 400 riders have been injured.

Shockingly, three riders and 18 horses have died as a result of dogs attacking.

More information about rider safety can be found at bhs.org.uk

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