Lifelong rider forced to give up horses due to driver who failed to stop

  • A rider who fractured her neck in a road accident has told of the “devastating” consequences on her life.

    Former livery yard owner Jo* was hacking her horse on a quiet country lane when the incident took place in 2015.

    Her mare, a former riding school pony who had “been everywhere and done everything”, had already passed three tractors on the route and “not batted an eyelid”.

    Jo then heard a vehicle approaching from behind and saw it was a large tractor pulling a trailer.

    “I kept going and expected it to slow down, but it sounded like it got faster the closer it got,” she told H&H.

    “I could have touched it, it was that close, it was horrendous. My horse took off and the last thing I remember was trying to stop her.

    “The next thing, I was coming round on a verge and someone was holding my head.”

    Jo fractured her C2 vertebra and suffered a bleed on the brain.

    Her horse was captured by a member of the public and brought back to the yard.

    At the time of the accident, Jo’s children were eight, 11 and 13.

    “I’m a single parent and there was a fairly high chance I would be paralysed,” she said.

    “With the bleed on the brain I was quite confused; when talking I would forget what I was saying and I couldn’t look after the children.

    “I lost my mum to dementia and I was a lot like my mum [with my loss of memory].

    “What I didn’t realise was my children were panic-stricken — had I died, where would they go? It makes you realise you have to think about guardianship [in case anything happens to you as a parent].”

    Jo moved in with a friend who looked after her and the children for a month until she had recovered enough to go home.

    Her horse was not injured but was never hacked on the road again.

    “I’m 50 this year and I’ve ridden since I was eight, but I don’t ride any more,” said Jo.

    “I used to have six horses and run a small livery yard — it’s a bit devastating.

    “It has affected me but I’ve stayed quite positive. I threw myself into working out in the gym trying to strengthen the muscles around the injury.

    “Although I can lift lots at the gym those weights are stable and balanced. Shopping is a struggle and I can’t carry logs into the house as trying to get an even load is impossible.

    “I have to be really careful what I do as to what will cause pain.”

    Jo informed police of her accident but unfortunately the driver could not be traced.

    Continued below…

    Jo contacted HorseSolicitor and recently received £34,000 for her injuries and associated losses, from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

    The MIB exists to compensate victims of negligent untraced drivers, and uninsured drivers.

    *Alias, rider wished to remain anonymous

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