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15 March 2022

Racing Welfare Fundraiser – Hannah Benson

Racing Welfare beneficiary Hannah talks about how one day her life changed, the support she received from Racing Welfare and how she’s giving back to the charity.

Nearly 3 years ago on the 16th April 2019 something happened that no one could have expected. I’d been in the racing industry both flat and jumps for 5 years and had the odd fall here and there, had always had my own horses, Team Chased and Evented. However, on that morning, life changed for me. On the way to the gallops, the filly I was riding slipped. From what I now know I was resuscitated twice by the Assistant Trainer, put in an induced coma and taken by air ambulance to Southampton where I stayed in this coma in ICU for 5 days then for a month I was in the Smile for Wessex Neuro Unit.

I cannot remember being in hospital or the couple of months previous to this. I had to learn to walk again and gain back my coordination. I cannot thank Racing Welfare enough for what they have done for me. The racing industry’s dedication to its staff who are not even professionals is incredible. My whole rehabilitation with the help of Oaksey House in Lambourn and the Hobbs team was funded by Racing Welfare. I was in Oaksey pretty much every other day during my recovery for around 10 months until it all got cut short by our first lockdown just after Cheltenham Festival 2020.

The road has been very long and I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought about giving up on a number of occasions. The countdown was on for me to get back on my own horse at 6 months than to get back to work. I have gone from someone who was comfortable around friends to someone who now distances themselves and is happier around people who don’t know me. My social life is non-existent. I gave up on studying for various online courses as nothing goes in and my day is run by how tired I am which then affects my eyesight. I might look ok but that isn’t necessarily the case.

But, I have been given the most amazing opportunity by Millimetres2Mountains, a charity run by Ed and Lois Jackson, who have given me a place as a beneficiary. The charity creates positive change for people who are facing mental health challenges as a result of encountering physical trauma in their lives. So in August, I am going to be participating in a 7-day trek across the Icelandic Highlands. We’ll be hiking past giant waterfalls, across black volcanic sand plains and through arctic birch forests so it will be a mix of terrain for my interesting eyesight to cope with. As a thank you to Racing Welfare who have funded the journey to keep me functioning, I’d like to take this opportunity to give something back to them by raising money for them. As long as I can stay awake, visually see ok and coordinate myself all will be well so I can achieve my goal.

JustGiving page: Hannah Benson is fundraising for Racing Welfare (justgiving.com)