Top NZ show to highlight rider safety

The THINK head injury awareness rosettes.
The THINK head injury awareness rosettes.

Several awards will be presented at this weekend’s South Island Premier Showing Championships drawing attention to head injury awareness among equestrians.

The show has formed a relationship with THINK! The Head Injury Network for Kiwis, and six THINK! Head Injury Awareness Awards will be presented at the show this weekend in Christchurch.

The highest placed competitors in the selected events that wear a safety riding helmet will be awarded the six rosettes that are up for grabs.

A recent horror injury to a local rider aiming to compete at the show has highlighted the need for safety helmets when riding.

Christchurch rider Tania Kenny, 26, suffered a freak accident on November 28 during a riding lesson in preparation for the show. Her horse tripped and fell, and in the fall her chin was split open and her lip ripped away from her teeth, resulting in 11 stitches to her face and a further 22 internal stitches in her mouth. She also badly injured her shoulder.

But worst of all, she sustained a head injury when her horse tried to stand up and struck her on the back of her head, knocking her unconscious and splitting the rear of her safety helmet.

“I went for my lesson on my horse Starr Touch.  I had been aiming to compete at the South Island Premier event for some time as I had set it as a goal and wanted to do well at the big show.  My horse was going amazingly well in the lesson despite it being an extremely hot day.

“We were cantering around towards the end of the lesson and my young horse tripped.  I went onto her neck unbalancing her more and we both face planted. My horse tried her hardest not to stand on me but she struck the back of my neck/head with a hoof and split inside of the helmet,” Kenny said.

“I feel had I not been wearing helmet I would be dead – I’m bloody lucky I’m alive to tell my story. I would like people to please wear their helmets while training and in competition with their horses.”

Anne Hjorth with THINK founder Elizabeth Charleston at the 2012 Horse of the Year Show.
Anne Hjorth with THINK founder Elizabeth Charleston at the 2012 Horse of the Year Show.

The accident has prompted Kenny to become involved with head injury awareness and helmet use: “I believe wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been wearing my helmet when I had my accident.”

Despite her injuries, Kenny plans to attend the show this weekend without her horse, so will instead be watching friends compete and attend the prizegivings to watch the THINK! awards will be presented.

Also at the South Island Premier Showing Championships will be THINK! supporter Anne Hjorth (Cambridge) who is a former two time winner of THINK! Head Injury Awareness Awards.

She is judging the showing events at the three-day show in Christchurch.  Hjorth was the highest placed competitor wearing a safety riding helmet in the Senior Equitation events at both the 2011 New Zealand Royal Show (Waikato) and the 2012 New Zealand Horse of the Year Show.

A graphic designer in Hamilton, Hjorth is the computer whizz that kindly put together the THINK! logo that was designed by THINK! Spokesperson Elizabeth Charleston.

Establish at the beginning of 2010 by Charleston, THINK! The Head Injury Network for Kiwis has gone from strength to strength with raising awareness of Head Injury both nationally and overseas in recent years.

The naming of ‘THINK! Equestrian Ambassador’ Shiwon Green, a New Zealand dressage rider, gained international coverage in the media when she declared she would from then on only ever ride in a safety riding helmet during training sessions and also in competitions.

The GPA safety helmet Green wears was sponsored by long-time THINK! supporters the Walker Family and their Auckland based equestrian store‘Stirrups.  Both Green and Charleston were awarded Helmet Hero Awards at the beginning of the year by USA based group riders4helmets, along with international dressage star Isabell Werth and a select group on individuals who were actively promoting head injury awareness in the equestrian world.

As of June 1, 2012, the Head Injury Society of New Zealand rebranded as THINK! and is a registered charitable trust (Registration number: CC 23785) that relies on donations to continue its work providing support to those with head injuries and raising awareness of head injury nationwide in New Zealand.

The following events at the South Island Premier Championship Show will feature a THINK! Head Injury Awareness Award that will be won by the highest placed competitor wearing a 3 point harness safety helmet:
Class 401 Senior Equitation: 17 yrs & over
Class 408 South Island Supreme Park Hack
Class 409 South Island Supreme Hack
Class 410 South Island Supreme Riding Horse
Class 415 South Island Supreme Senior Rider – 17 yrs & over

South Island Premier Championship Show, December 7-9, Canterbury A&P Showgrounds

George Howe (Victoria)
Rebecca Farran (Victoria)
Simon De Leeuw (NSW)
Shona Duncan (Rotorua)
Alan Duncan (Rotorua)
Anne Hjorth (Cambridge)Simon De Leeuw (NSW)
Shona Duncan (Rotorua)
Alan Duncan (Rotorua)
Anne Hjorth (Cambridge)


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