Helmet Credited with Saving Young Equestrian’s Life


“Please put a helmet on your kid.”

That’s what Shanna Brus, 4-H instructor and mother to 12-year-old Savannah, has to say to other parents of young riders.

Savannah was riding her Paint horse, Cherry, in a 4-H club meeting on Tuesday when the mare fell, landing on top of Savannah. The rider was unconscious, and after being flown to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, she was diagnosed with a fractured back and pelvis.

But she’s alive, and she’ll recover, and Shanna credits her daughter’s helmet for that. She shared a photo of Savannah’s helmet after the accident.

Riding Helmet
Screenshot via WKRN

“Her skull would have been that helmet,” she said.

The helmet appears to be a Troxel Sport, which has an MSRP of $34.95 and retails for less than $30 at several different tack shops and online retailers. It’s a very small price to pay for a rider’s life.

Savannah has been riding for her entire life and has been riding and showing Cherry for five years. Shanna tells WKRN that this accident won’t stop her daughter from riding in the future.

UPDATE: June 2, 2016: Shanna Brus posted on Facebook that a stinging insect stuck inside Cherry’s ear was most likely the cause for her falling over while being ridden. Savannah has returned home from the hospital.

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Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, KY.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.


  1. Prayers for Savannah, what we do is a dangerous sport, horses are unpredictable, even when we know them and love them. You only get one head, again this proves that something as simple as ALWAYS wearing your helmet is important. Thanks for sharing with us.


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