A MUM who was left with a series of devastating injuries when the horse she was riding was hit by a 4x4 in the New Forest has spoken of her ordeal for the first time.
It comes after the driver responsible admitted driving without due care and attention in court this week.
Cheryl Kirkhope, 46, says she fears she is too traumatised to ever ride again after she suffered a broken back, fractured ribs, a broken nose and a head injury when the driver failed to spot her and knocked her from her horse after she stopped to give tourists directions at Crow Hill, near Ringwood, last July.
Brian Streek, 78, of Bagnum, Ringwood, pleaded guilty at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court to the offence and was given eight points on his licence and ordered to pay £45 court fees.
Cheryl, from Ferndown, has now instructed a law firm to help her pursue a claim to fund her treatment and rehabilitation.
Mum-of-three Cheryl, who has been unable to return to work as a farm hand, says she feels that justice has not been done, due to the impact her injuries continue to have on her life and the fact she had to put down her 12-year-old horse, American Sunset, because he was so severely hurt.
She added: “The consequences of the driver not seeing me or my horse have been life changing and over six months on I am still struggling to come to terms with everything that has happened.
“The medical staff at Southampton General Hospital were fantastic and ultimately saved my life.
“I am all too aware that things could have been much worse though.
“I am still in constant pain with my back and ribs, have sleepless nights and cannot get back to the active lifestyle I used to have.
“The hardest thing is the fear I now have of riding.
“It was a huge part of my life before but I am still too anxious to get back in the saddle as I have flashbacks about what happened that day.
“I’m worried I will never be able to ride again.
“Nothing can turn back the clock but I would have liked to have seen real justice done as my life has changed significantly through no fault of my own.”
Law firm looks to secure funds
ALISON Eddy, a partner and serious injury expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell, is representing Cheryl.
She said: “Both the physical and psychological injuries Cheryl suffered continue to have a huge impact on her life. She needs a range of rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy and cognitive therapies, to help her recover and try and get her life back on track.
“We are working with the MIB (Motor Insurers Bureau) to secure funds which will provide this and allow Cheryl to begin rebuilding her life.
“We have repeatedly called for all road users to take greater care and be more vigilant of others in order to improve road safety.
“We hope Cheryl’s case acts as a reminder about how important it is for motorists and horse riders to share the roads safely to prevent serious injury.”