Empty-nest syndrome can hit those with horses acutely. Life without the children and their horses, too, can leave parents bereft. But, for others it’s a chance to re-think their priorities.

Cheshire-based Gail and Colin Cooper, married for 30 years, are making the most of their time together, since daughter Suzie went to university and the horses went back to their owners.

“We are rediscovering one another. We have time to talk, now,” says Colin.

“Colin and I go for walks and I no longer use Chanel to mask the smell of horses,” explains Gail.

Surrey-based Jan Daniel (pictured) has taken over the care of her now grown-up children’s horses and husband John is sympathetic her new interest.

She is happy to get out of doing the housework and has become a born-again rider in her 50s.

“I don’t have coffee mornings, I go for a hack with friends instead,” she says.

To read their full stories in Shirley Lewis’s feature don’t miss today’s Horse & Hound (Thursday 17 January)