Dear diary,

Well hello from snowy Lincolnshire – I hope you’re all ok? I’m guessing many of you will have spent an enjoyable few days tucked up in warm stables all day, with rugs and hay and other lovely creature comforts? Kept safe from the Beast from the East by loving mums and dads who accept their great responsibility to shield us from Mother Nature’s latest strop? Lucky you. I’ve been turned out every day in the white stuff when it’s cold enough to freeze off my baby Hovis makers — if I still had them that is — and snowing sideways such that I resemble the love child of Olaf and the Gruffalo. And no I will not “let it go” before anyone even goes there…

What’s worse is that only a few days ago, she-who-must-be-obeyed and I went out on our first hack in nearly a year in bright sunshine and clear skies. If ever proof were needed that the power upstairs is female, then this sort of inconsistency of mood is it. Moody mare…

So anyway, going back to my first hack out. There’s probably a few things I should remind you of. Firstly due to my horrible year last year which entailed a broken leg and then eye surgery, I didn’t hack out at all, so it’s been a loooonnnnngggg time.

Secondly, I am a ninja with lightening reactions when it comes to danger while hacking as my mother frankly has the survival instincts of a depressed lemming and as such can in no way be trusted.

Thirdly, no one knows for how long I’ve been unable to see so thus the world is looking very different for me now and finally I have to break in a new wingman as the love of my life is currently side-lined herself with injury. So remember these facts as I regale you with tales of my bravery.

So the first I knew of this was mother arriving at speed at the yard, inappropriately dressed (I will talk about her jeans and her country boots — I feel no need to discuss the complaints around her underwear choices; it’s unsavoury) and clearly in a hurry. It appears she’d had a last-minute invitation to go out with the boss lady and Aunt C with Bob and was keen not to miss out.

She tacked me up at warp speed and made self-gratifying comments about how many holes higher my girth could now go – erm yep, that’s called STARVATION — while equally noting she’d not sat on me for longer than 20 minutes in a very very long time due to her back. Still, off we all set with the boss lady on foot, in the gentle sunshine.

We sauntered gaily out of the yard entrance, got 10 yards down the road and POOF! There they were! Clouds on legs! Loads of them! I took immediate evasive action and leapt to the right, manfully pushing the boss lady to safety at the same time. Everyone was so grateful. Seriously. I honestly think that’s why the boss lady stuck a lunge line on me — just so that I could pull her to safety when required. Mum fell about laughing and Aunt C looked slightly concerned. Bob and I continued upon where I proceeded to demonstrate that, despite the opinion of she-who-was-wearing-the-wrong-knickers-for-riding, I am feeling rather fit. The fact this manifested itself in repeated attempts to trot and a lot of jogging should only serve to highlight my athletic prowess and should not have resulted in a schooling whip down my manly derriere.

I manfully led Bob past those little quackers things, several barking dogs and a couple of mares whose morals looked enjoyably questionable as they flirted over the fence (and who can blame them?). The mothership was delighted with my behaviour, only whinged about her pants a few times and the boss lady agreed that I had proved to be an admirable wingman for Bob. I could see mother womanfully not passing comment about my ability to deal with tractors which was probably wise.

So I suspect we may do some more of it, when the mardy mare upstairs stops doing her very passable Elsa impression.

Anyway moving on to other news. Last week I told you about my appearance at Belton International Horse Trials where I will be doing a whole host of things which will herald a new dawn in the equestrian scene.

This week I get to tell you that you will be able to purchase a special Hovis ticket to the event. This money will go to the equine charity Bransby Horses and will include in the price, entrance to the event, a special drinks and nibble reception (you drink and I’ll nibble you I think?), an opportunity to come up close and personal with me AND a signed copy of my sixth book exclusively weeks before it goes on sale later this year. here are only a handful of these exclusive VIP tickets for each day and each one bought will be entered into a raffle to win even more seriously cool, money can’t buy things in a special Hovis raffle. Mother assures me she’s not raffling me off but that may well change depending on how I behave…

Continued below…



It’s the 50th year of Bransby Horses and I and a whole host of other people are working our legs and hooves off to try and raise a load of money and the profile of this great charity who do so much for unfortunate equines. So if you can, buy a ticket, come along have a great day watching some amazing riders, great eventing and of course meet a superstar. See you all there?

Laters,
Hovis