‘I just sat and worried about bills’: rider’s insurance warning after fall kept her off work

A work rider who faced months off work after an accident on the gallops has warned others to ensure they have the right insurance.

Hannah Johnstone damaged her anterior cruciate ligament and her media collateral ligament in the fall, in August 2018.

She was unable to work at all for two to three months, and unable to ride for eight months – and she had no cover for the loss of income.

“I was just coming up the gallops and something spooked the horse – to this day, I don’t know what – and I came off straight on to my knee,” Hannah told H&H.

“I went to hospital and they said it was just bruised, but I couldn’t move it.”

Hannah eventually had to undergo an operation in which her kneecap was shaved.

“Then I had a month just sitting and worrying about bills,” she said, adding she also had to look after her then-two-year-old daughter. “My husband’s in the army too so he was worrying about everything, especially being away.”

“Racing Welfare helped me after a while, but if only I’d had insurance, I’d have been able to recover at home and not had the stress of needing to work,” she said.

“I felt a bit lost – I didn’t know where to turn.”

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Hannah worked in non-equestrian jobs for some months until her knee was strong enough to ride, since which time she has been working as a freelance groom, and is now insured through the British Grooms Association.

“The first thing I did was get my insurance sorted!” she said, urging others in her situation to make sure they are covered. “I was quite annoyed with myself for not having it, but I thought I was fine and didn’t need it.

“But you never know when an accident will happen – I rode that horse every day and it was fine, until that day, then I was out of work for months.”

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