On the anniversary of owning her horse Patrick for seven years, Jackie Harding completed #Hack1000Miles.

“From the first day I had him I hacked him, and he was amazing,” says Jackie of then four-year-old Patrick. “Nothing phased him.”

This came as a relief for Jackie, who hadn’t gelled with the 13-year-old school mistress  she originally purchased. She part-exchanged the mare for Irish cob Patrick.

“I was really a complete novice. I had ridden most of my life but at riding schools,” explains Jackie.

“Then my daughter got back into horses and bought a horse, and then was buying youngsters so I was riding quite a lot but she was selling them on and I was getting too attached. I decided to get my own, so Patrick came along.”

‘I was a nervous wreck’

Based at a yard with hacking limited to roadwork or a two-mile farm track, Jackie admits she was beginning to lose her “mojo”.

“After five years it was totally boring,” says 62-year-old Jackie. “Then the Hack 1,000 Miles challenge came up on Facebook, and I thought ‘I’m going to try that’. But where I was it was near-on impossible to get a lot of miles in, so I made the decision to move yards.”

Since moving, Jackie has competed at prelim-level dressage, done a hunter trial and gone for gallops on the stubble fields.

She now rides solo through the local forest and credits the growth in her confidence to #Hack1000Miles.

“If it hadn’t been for the challenge I wouldn’t have moved yards, and I wouldn’t have gone cross-country schooling or done the hunter trial because I just wouldn’t have had the confidence,” says Jackie, who has always dreamed of trying cross-country.

Jackie rode her thousandth mile on Holkham beach, bringing her full-circle on her confidence journey.

“Four years ago I went with some friends to Holkham beach, which I was absolutely petrified about,” confesses Jackie. “I was a nervous wreck. But I did it, and I loved it.

“This year I took a friend who had never been before, who was in the same situation I’d been in when I went four years ago. She was as nervous as me when I first went there.

“I think that was our greatest achievement.”

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