A rider has completed the Hack 1,000 Miles challenge, despite battling with nerves following a nasty fall that left her bed-bound for six months.

Joey had been sold to Jane Outterson as a ride and drive. But when it came time to take him out, Jane struggled to get him to leave the yard.

“When we brought him home, reality hit and we realised that the seller hadn’t quite told the truth. I knew he was green, but not quite how much,” confesses Jane. “We think he might have had an accident, as he was terrified of cars. I had him assessed by experts who think he’s been involved in an accident with something coming towards him, because of how he acts.

“I decided to take him back to basics and re-school him, which began with getting on at the mounting block, and that’s when I had my accident.”

In October 2020, just six weeks after purchasing Joey, Jane had a nasty fall whilst trying to mount.

“I put my foot in the stirrup and he stepped away. I tried to scrabble on, but I belly flopped over the other side,” recounts Jane, 56. “I broke my pelvis and smashed my right kneecap. I was pretty broken – I had to live downstairs for six months.”

Jane made the decision to send Joey away to be professional re-schooled whilst she healed.

“I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do it. I needed him to be safe, and I wanted to know he’d be schooled properly,” says Jane. “The lady who I chose had him for six weeks, and said she’d taken him as far as she could but that he just might not be the pony for me.”

Trying again

Once Jane had recovered from her injuries, she started to ride again.

“In the beginning I used to get someone to hold him whilst I got on, but I just thought how can I do things if I’m always relying on someone else?” says Jane, who lives in County Durham. “The first time I got on with no one standing there was an achievement.”

Jane admits that whilst she is back riding and enjoying her time in the saddle, she isn’t without anxiety.

“I still have nerves getting on him,” she says. “I’m not as nervous as I once was, because otherwise I wouldn’t get on. But the more I thought about it, the worse it became so now I just think about riding, not about getting on.

“Every time I lead him up to the mounting block my heart is in my mouth – that’s never gone away.”

Whilst years have passed, Joey can be spooky and difficult on rides, but Jane doesn’t let it hold her back.

“Joey is terrified of traffic, and there are things I won’t do, like roads I won’t ride down. He can rear and spin to try and get away from things he doesn’t like, so I choose my battles. If I get off, lead him past something scary and get back on, then that’s ok. I say he’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me.”

Joining the challenge

Jane signed up to the challenge in April 2022, and had finished in January 2023.

“The Hack 1,000 Miles challenge gave me a goal. It gave me the motivation to see how far we could go, and the change in Joey was amazing,” says Jane. “The yard I’m on, everyone does dressage or jumping and has Thoroughbreds or Warmbloods. They’ll do a couple of miles around the block, but that wasn’t enough for me. So this has been something we could do ourselves.”

Despite their rocky beginnings, perseverance and hard work have meant that Jane and Joey have not only completed the challenge, but decided to try and go even further for the next time around.

“This time my goal is 1,500 miles!”

Check out our subscription offer

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue