A recent inquest into the death of 43-year-old Fiona Vigar from Cerne Abbas, near Dorchester, heard that she passed away after falling from a horse while wearing a hunt cap that offered no safety protection. Mrs Vigar was a prominent huntswoman with 35 years riding experience and a former leader of the Cattistock Hunt in Dorset.
Despite suffering serious head injuries in a previous fall in 2011, Vigar was wearing a flimsy riding helmet at the time of the accident that killed her. The headgear was made of linen and carried a safety warning notice that it offered the rider no protection. Mrs Vigar had made a full recovery from the 2011 fall except for impaired vision in one eye.
Vigar, was riding one horse and leading another when one of them lost its footing on the slippery manhole cover and fell. She was knocked unconscious and airlifted to hospital where she was put into an induced coma and underwent brain surgery. But her injuries were too severe and she died 17 days after the accident in the village of Loaders, near Bridport.
When Mrs Vigas headed out with the Cattistock Hunt on January 24th 2013, she chose not to wear adequate head gear despite the prior head injury. Her hunt cap was made of linen coated with a shellac based paste to form a hard plastic and did not carry a kite mark. The warning label inside read: “This cap is not intended to protect against personal injury and does not comply with the relevant standards.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, the West Dorset coroner Mr Sheriff Payne said: “She was wearing a hat, but not a crash hat or a protective form of hat and she would have been aware of that because of the prominent label inside it.”
Afterwards Mrs Vigar’s husband Chris said it was “extremely unlucky” that his wife had been the victim of two accidents. He said: “It shows the importance of wearing adequate safety equipment when undertaking these sports. She died doing something she loved.”
Riders4Helmets extends our deepest sympathies to the family. Please make sure that you wear certified headgear when you ride.