Karola Dillenburger completed the #Hack1000Miles challenge in exactly 366 days on her two mares Clara and Capri. This was her second attempt at the challenge, after reaching 500 the first time.
“The Hack 1000 Miles challenge has given me something to aim for without being in competition against others,” says Karola, 65.
“I just compete against my own previous achievements, which is great.”
For Karola, the challenge has been an opportunity to connect with friends.
“We usually sit at the horsebox and have a coffee and crackers after our rides,” she says.
“One of the best rides I had was with a group of friends whilst at camp in Donegal, Ireland.”
Karola, who moved to Northern Ireland from Germany 40 years ago, took a three-month break from riding during the first lockdown to avoid putting pressure on the NHS.
“Riding can be a dangerous sport and I’ve had to use the NHS on a few occasions before [the pandemic], so I didn’t want to take any risks,” says Karola, who was diagnosed and underwent treatment for breast cancer in 2018.
The support of her friends allowed her to continue with her passion for riding.
“I started going out riding again during my radiation therapy, exploring new trails with very supportive and patient friends who looked after me and my horse when I was not feeling very strong.
“I’d slowly gained strength again, when I saw this challenge on Facebook. I joined the Facebook group, and started tracking my miles,” says Karola, who also campaigned to improve road safety.
“The biggest challenge has been the increasing dangerous traffic on the local country roads,” she says.
“I’m now involved in the Pass Wide and Slow awareness rides; I organised one of over 180 rides that went out across the UK on 19th September. We wanted to raise driver awareness about horses on the roads.”