A photo of the riding hat damaged in a fall while worn by Olympic showjumper Laura Kraut has reached nearly two million social media users.

Laura, an Olympic and World gold medallist for the USA, was competing at Peelbergen Equestrian Centre’s summer tour in the Netherlands when she fell.

Her 11-year-old mare Jakarta took a stride out in a double, throwing Laura forward.

“Jakarta trampled over me and in the process stood on my head,” said Laura.

“She also got parts of my face, so there was a lot of blood, which made it look more dramatic. Plus there was a stud hole in my helmet.

“I think people thought I was dead, as I was knocked unconscious.”

The image of the damaged Charles Owen hat clearly shows that it prevented a much more serious head injury.

The 54-year-old rider was taken to hospital and released the next day with a broken nose and concussion. She was back competing three weeks later.

“It was one of those falls that looked much worse than it ended up being, thanks to my Charles Owen helmet,” added Laura. “My helmet certainly did its job.”

This is a stark reminder of how important it is to always wear a properly fitted, up to standard hat when riding.

Hats should not be more than a few years old and should always be replaced after being dropped or worn in a fall — even if you can’t see any visible damage.

“What happened to Laura is a shocking but harsh reality of what can happen in our sport, to any rider, regardless of experience, talent or discipline,” said Charles Owen’s marketing director Alex Burek.

““There’s no doubt that Laura’s injuries would have been more severe had her helmet not met PAS 015:2011 standard. This is the standard that tests for the type of impact where the stud impacts the rider’s helmet.

“If your helmet doesn’t show this on the label, it’s not designed to withstand this level of crush or stud injury.”

Images of the helmet reached over 1.6 million people on social media and was shared 9,500 times.