Ranch reminds horse riders of helmet safety

11-year-old girl thrown off horse in critical condition

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As 11-year-old Natasha Holt remains in critical condition Monday night at Wolfson Children's Hospital, riding experts are reminding all riders to practice safety while on horseback.

Holt was injured in a horseback riding accident Sunday. According to the incident report, the 11-year-old wasn't wearing a riding helmet when she jumped on a friend's horse without a saddle.

Channel 4 stopped by Diamond D Ranch on Jacksonville's Westside to learn more about riding safety and to find out how critical helmets and saddles are for safety.

"I think it's important to teach kids from ground up," said Diamond D Ranch's K'Leigh Griffin. "Sometimes we get in a hurry and it's easy to forget about things. Just reminding kids steady, watching every move they make and going behind them and correcting them."

Griffin told Channel 4 that the reality is a lot of time when people grow up around horses, they may not use the proper safety equipment, but that safety is critical especially for children.

"Many times as child, I did the same thing. Here on the ranch we try to teach kids to wear your helmet, but as children we get out there, don't wear helmet, don't wear saddle.  But being raised around horses, I look back as a child and I would've done things different, knowing what could happen," said Griffin.

Diamond D Ranch requires people to wear helmets while on horseback until they are 18-years-old. The staff told Channel 4 that they are saddened to hear the news about Holt's injury and hopes that she will make a full recovery.

"It was very sad and knowing the family, great family. Very upsetting," said Griffin.