A HORSE rider injured in a crash with a four-by-four vehicle near Ringwood says she fears she will never ride again.

Mother-of-three Cheryl Kirkhope suffered a broken back, fractured ribs, broken nose and a head injury when she and her horse American Sunset were hit by a green Mitsubishi L200 truck on Crow Hill.

The 12-year-old horse had to be put down.

Last week Brian Streek, 78, of Bagnum in Ringwood pleaded guilty at Aldershot Magistrates Court to driving without due care and attention before the crash on July 6 last year.

He was given eight points on his licence and ordered to pay £45 costs.

Now specialist lawyers are trying to secure cash for a rehabilitation programme for Mrs Kirkhope, 46.

She had stopped to give tourists directions when she was hit by Streek’s truck, and sent flying into a bush. The horse, nicknamed Sunny, ran off despite its severe injuries.

Mrs Kirkhope has now instructed serious injury experts at Irwin Mitchell to pursue a claim through the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) because Streek’s insurers will not cover him as he was driving for work purposes and his employers had not yet added the vehicle to their fleet policy. The CPS is not bringing further charges in relation to the insurance issue.

Mrs Kirkhope, from Ferndown, said: “The consequences have been life changing.

“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 saved my life.”

She added: “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.”

Irwin Mitchell partner and serious injury expert Alison Eddy, who is representing Mrs Kirkhope, 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 to secure funds which will provide this and allow Cheryl to begin rebuilding her life.”