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The condition of an 8-year-old girl seriously injured when she was trampled by a horse in the Upper Galilee on Sunday has slightly improved, doctors said yesterday.

"She has sustained serious injuries to the chest and lungs," Dr. Alex Braslavsky, a senior surgeon at Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed, where she is being treated, said. "She is on artificial respiration and is sedated but her condition is, without a doubt, less serious than it was yesterday. She came to us in critical condition and we hope we can treat her without any further surgeries."

The girl was hurt during a lesson at a horse-riding school near the village of Kefar Szold.

"For some unknown reason, with the instructor right next to the child, her horse panicked and galloped forward," a police officer said. "The child fell down and was trampled by [the horse's] hind legs."

It was the girl's 30th lesson and she was considered a capable rider by her instructors. According to a police inquiry, the stable was run in accordance with safety regulations.

Five years ago, a 13-year-old from Nazareth died when he fell off a horse during a riding lesson outside Tzippori. One of the boy's legs was caught in the stirrup and he was dragged on the ground by the horse, sustaining fatal head wounds.