When #Hack1000Miles rider Samantha Ogden’s mum passed away just before Christmas 2021, it was hacking and caring for her ponies that got her through such a difficult time.

“Mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour roughly ten years ago, which they operated on and removed, but sadly it came back a couple of years ago,” says Samantha. “She had all the radiotherapy available, but there wasn’t much doctors could do. It was as the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns started to happen which meant we couldn’t go to see her.”

Samantha, who is a freelance jewellery designer based in Chesterfield, juggled caring for her sick parent and working full time and confesses that she started to wonder if she could manage her two ponies as well.

“Once lockdown eased it was difficult trying to fit everything in with going to see mum, caring for her, helping dad, working, and also looking after the ponies,” she says. “To be honest, the ponies felt like a burden and I started to think I needed to find someone else to look after them.”

‘The ponies kept me going’

But when Samantha’s mum passed away in December, ponies Coco and Misty, became the rider’s lifeline.

“Even when I felt like all I wanted to do was get under the duvet and stay there all day long, I knew I couldn’t. They really gave me a purpose and reason to leave the house,” says Samantha. “Even if I didn’t ride, I had to feed them and get the chores done.

“When mum was sick, I could go to the yard and take my mind off how bad she was by watching them in the field all day and enjoying the fresh air.”

Samantha took a five-month break from hacking before getting back on board in January.

“When I got back on I realised how much I had missed it. We have the Five Pits Trails on our doorstep so plodding down through the trees again felt calm and tranquil. Everything just suddenly felt slightly better with the world; riding again felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders,” said Samantha.

Looking to the future

Understandably, hacking 1,000 miles hasn’t been at the forefront of Samantha’s mind. But it really is the taking part that counts — as we often say at Your Horse HQ, it is every rider’s own personal journey and how far you go is up to you, we just want you to enjoy it and celebrate every mile you achieve.

“We’ve probably only done about 45 miles so far as it’s been one thing after another,” adds Samantha. “I had Covid for a fortnight earlier this year and then sadly we lost my Shetland, Gypsy, to colic on the day of my mum’s funeral.

“It was a difficult start to the year with everything being thrown at me. It’s been traumatic but I’m positive about the future. I’ve just bought a trailer and I can’t wait to get out and do some pleasure rides this summer.”

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