Country mouse on an active summer

Summer sees Rupert’s children loving a summer messing about with boats and ponies

The tail end of Hurricane Bertha made for an exciting start to Bosham Junior Sailing Week in Chichester Harbour. Honor, 13, who had hitherto viewed boats as a convenient conveyance to sunbathing opportunities, was crewing for her friend Phoebe.

Their first foray onto the water was more a foray into the water. All the boats in their class capsized within minutes and they were rescued along with their Tangfastics sweets supply (very important, apparently). The boat was found later. Far from this signalling the end to these youngsters’ racing careers, it was deemed the most thrilling thing to have happened all summer and, by the end of the week, competition was high for merit mats and trophy plates. Back on terra firma, Honor’s younger siblings were on ponies, creatures that have the capacity to eject you as effectively as Bertha had their sister.

Our friend Catherine beautifully organised the Cowdray Hunt Pony Club Junior Camp. I can say that confidently because everyone was smiling at the end of the four days of cross-country, showjumping and riding without stirrups. Rufus was in a ride with all boys and they were actively encouraged to cheer and whoop. Even a girl called Ocean was smiling, despite breaking her arm. Yes, she’s called Ocean because her parents are very keen sailors—they’re reconsidering Plan A for summer activities.

* This article was first published in Country Life on August 20 2014
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