Nine months after breaking her neck in a rotational fall, 19-year-old Charlotte Hoare has fulfilled her ambition of making it to the inaugural Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships with her horse Easkey Pride.
The teenager from Devon ended up in hospital and spent 10 weeks in a neck brace after fracturing her C1 and C7 in the freak accident during a Pony Club camp at Pontispool last summer.
“It happened over the smallest fence we jumped all day, it must have been 2ft3in, but we just got a wrong stride and had a rotational fall,” says Charlotte, who was riding another pony at the time.
“The doctors at the hospital said I was very lucky and my physiotherapist also said she’d seen people with similar injuries who were unable to walk now.”
Charlotte got back on a horse as soon as she could after her neck brace came off and credits her mother for keeping her two rides going while she was on the sidelines.
“Going across country again was a bit scary the first time,” says Charlotte. “In April, I went back to Pontispool again for Easter camp and I was terrified — I didn’t think I could do it. However, overnight something just clicked and I did it — I even jumped the same fence again.
“As soon as I heard about the Horse & Hound Championships, it was my main aim throughout my recovery and I’m so pleased with how it has all turned out.”
Her 10-year-old mount has also bounced back from various injuries over recent years.
“I’ve had him for four years, but for about half of that he’s been off,” explains Charlotte, who is on a gap year and works as a waitress to pay for her hobby. “He had issues with abscesses and then had muscle problems in his back.”
It took the Dartmoor Pony Club member and her mother six hours to travel up from Devon to Keysoe on Friday because of bad traffic. However, Charlotte got her campaign in the 80cm class off to a great start by posting a 31.5 dressage score today (Saturday, 27 May) despite a “slight mistake” in the trot-walk-trot transition.
The pair will go across country tomorrow and Charlotte adds: “The course looks good and a challenge — I’m looking forward to it.”
Read the full report from the Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships in H&H — on sale Thursday, 1 June.