A SCHOOLBOY horse-riding champion has been left seriously injured after being kicked in the head by a pony.

Junior British Endurance Champion Dean Brown, 11, was rushed to hospital by the Portland Coastguard rescue helicopter after the accident on Portland.

He had been bringing in prized pony Razzina when he slipped and was struck by another pony trotting close by.

His trainer Sue Lees, owner of Windmill Riding School, said she and the boy's family had been left devastated by the accident.

She said: "Dean might well have been excited because Razzina is in foal and she had just been scanned.

"He went to get her from the field and another horse that was out was trotting alongside Dean and Razzina.

"We believe Dean slipped and the horse got him as she was coming by."

Ms Lees also trains Dean's older sister Laura in endurance riding.

Between them, the siblings have collected numerous trophies riding Razzina and another pony called Solo.

At the start of this year Dean was awarded the Peter Ball Trophy for best endurance rider in the country. He has even beat off competition from adults in the same field.

Ms Lees said she was confident her pupil would not let the accident put him off the sport he loves.

She said: "It was a freak accident. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"His mum Lisa is obviously devastated and his dad Joey just doesn't know what to do.

"But I honestly believe this will not put Dean off."

Dean was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital on Thursday afternoon before being transferred to Southampton Hospital. He was rescued by helicopter because the field he was in was too remote to be accessed by ambulance.

Ms Lees said Dean's family had been at his bedside.

She added: "He's awake and chatting and remembers things, so hopefully there will be no damage".

"Lisa couldn't stop thanking the crews and paramedics for what they did. She said they were all fantastic."

It is now hoped Dean will be transferred to Dorset County Hospital in time for Christmas.

"He is a really switched on kid and is good at everything - football and schoolwork as well," she added.

Dean started endurance riding at the age of eight.

Since then he has ridden to victory in races of up to 80km all over the country.

A Southampton Hospital spokeswoman said Dean was 'doing okay'.