A YOUNG horse-riding champion is celebrating getting back in the saddle after a brush with death.

Dean Brown, 11, suffered head injuries after being kicked in the head by a pony when he tripped over in a paddock.

Three months later Portland's Junior British Endurance Champion is still recovering, but is now back riding.

His mother Lisa Brown, of East Weare Road, Portland, said: "I am happy to say he is well on the mend now.

"He was the one that wanted to get straight back into it and even wanted to ride the 81k race, which is more than he has ever done before."

Dean has returned to Underhill Junior School and is busy training seven days a week and looking after his chestnut horse Chip.

Dean has taken part in his first competitive race since the accident - the 25-mile Jubilee Trail Ride.

He was one of 120 riders taking part and his time will go towards his overall ranking for the year.

Mrs Brown, 38, said: "He was apprehensive at first but he coped with the ride well.

"His condition is improving very slowly but now he is able to get on and do the things he wants to do. For the moment he is improving and he will continue to attend hospital appointments for check-ups."

She added: "With all brain injuries there are side effects and with Dean he gets very angry when he couldn't do things like the other kids around him."

Dean was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester after the accident just days before Christmas at the Windmill Riding School on Portland. He was later transferred to the neurological unit in Southampton for treatment.

On return from hospital Dean was tired a lot and forgot things easily, and he found it frustrating not being able to take part in his biggest passion.

Mrs Brown said she was so pleased with the support that Dean and the family received following the accident. She added: "Dean couldn't have done this without the support of his trainer Sue Lees and the generosity of his sponsors, Weymouth Scaffolding 2000, and the others who paid for everything - they stuck by him through all of this."