A rider who was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment while taking part in Your Horse’s #Hack1000Miles has completed the challenge.
Donna Marie Green, who completed the challenge alongside her friend Jane and with three horses Crystal, Miri and Heidi, also had lockdown to contend with.
Then strict Covid restrictions, combined with Donna’s treatments for cancer, left her with little time to ride.
“The amount of riding I could do was limited, but medical professionals I spoke to were certain that riding, spending time with the horses and having a goal to focus on was hugely helpful for my recovery,” said Donna.
“We didn’t ride at all during the first lockdown, which was really hard but that was the advice,” said Donna, a postperson. “Riding is important for both of us for relieving stress, plus the horses lost fitness and gained weight.
“Planning and thinking of what we would do once restrictions eased kept us sane. We rode separately for a while, and then together but socially distanced as soon as we were able to.”
With three horses between them, Donna, 50, and 61-year-old Jane decided to try riding and leading the third horse.
“Although whoever is left behind is quite happy, we decided to give it a go,” said Donna. “It took some experimentation and practise, but we can now do it really easily, and the led horse seems to really enjoy it. We’ve progressed to confidently trotting and cantering.”
The challenge has also given the pair the motivation to discover new routes, added Donna.
“We were able to go further afield as the horses got fitter and faster. It’s been rewarding to see their confidence grow, especially in Miri who is only six years old, and Crystal who can be quite anxious,” she said.
“They are happy with opening gates, going through narrow gaps and negotiating difficult terrain — which we have a lot of. It’s really helped to increase our trust in each other.”