I had my last day’s hunting some years ago on my 40th birthday. I stopped for a number of reasons, such as time, money and children, but the real one was that my nerves had become a bit jangly. I’d been pretty fearless, ridden in point-to-points, adored team chasing and had my due share of crashing falls without a moment’s thought about getting back on.
For several years, I was Horse & Hound’s hunting editor. Then, one day, I was galloping towards a fence, and I realised that I was thinking about falling. My nerve had gone. I couldn’t bear it. I felt as if a bit of the real me had gone missing and forced myself to carry on, but all the time, I was thinking about falling. It was no good, and I’m now pleased that I had the good sense to stop before I began to hate a sport I loved.
Now, I follow on foot when I can and admire others’ pluck and riding skill. I also marvel at the efforts of all the mounted followers to look so smart at the meet, knowing that they’ll be drenched in mud as soon as they cross the first field. In fact, I envy them.
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