A Highways Operative who suffered a serious fall and shattered her riding confidence after her horse was spooked by a bike has completed #Hack1000Miles — and is starting the challenge for a second time.

Sammi Wenn, from Bedfordshire, suffered the fall while hacking on the road in 2019 and her confidence took such a knock that the thought of getting back in the saddle brought her to tears.

“Three years ago my other horse, Jack, spooked at a bicycle out hacking. I fell off and he dragged me across an open field by my arm and eventually ran into open traffic on a main road,” said Sammi.

“I was hacking on my own and the fall affected my confidence for years. I was so frightened to even get back into the saddle.”

‘I refused to get on’

Sammi, who served in the army for nine years and completed a tour of Afghanistan, learned to ride aged four. She has exercised equines serving in the Royal Horse Artillery and added that losing her confidence was “a shock”.

She is now back riding and hacking again, this time on Irish Draft Chester.

“Chester first came to me in 2019 on loan. To start with I refused to get on him as the fear of coming off reduced me to tears,” said Sammi.

“I finally got back on two years ago and decided to take part in Your Horse’s hacking challenge.

“I’m so glad I did as my confidence grows every ride. This year I’m even hoping to do some cross-country, as Chester has a background in hunting.”

‘We’ve come a long way’

Sammi advises anyone struggling with confidence to keep going at their own pace; it doesn’t matter how long it takes to complete #Hack1000Miles — it has taken Sammi two years.

“You may think you’re a million miles away from completing the challenge, but every ride takes you one step closer to finishing, even if you’re only onboard for ten minutes,” she said.

“There are also so many benefits to hacking as you see so much more on horseback than you do while walking or driving. I have really enjoyed making the most of seeing the seasons change and watching the sun rise or set out hacking.”

Sammi has also raised £250 for MacMillian Cancer Support.

“We hacked 12 miles and it was a real highlight of the challenge for me as both Chester and I dressed up in fancy dress for Halloween and rode around Northampton,” she said.

“We also took part in a remembrance ride, where Chester had poppies in his mane and we rode through our town. We’ve come a long way since the days when I wouldn’t get on him.”

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