What a gent that Carl Hester is, to withdraw one of his two rides from the national dressage championship grand prix freestyle to give another rider the opportunity to compete.

I doubt allowing Michael Eilberg (pictured) to make the most of this opportunity and take overall honours was part of his plan, but Carl has claimed quite enough national titles.

It was, too, fantastic to see Michael, whose rise to the top has seemed inevitable since he took up dressage seven years ago, add national champion to his European and World accolades.

What were they thinking?

I’m loath to criticise media, knowing the challenges and realities they face, but for the Daily Mirror to capitalise on a pixilated image of a racehorse being shot last weekend was dumbfounding.

For the RSPCA to come out in support of the vet and racecourse rather demonstrates quite how off the money the paper was.

As humanitarian causes go, the prompt euthanasia of an animal with this sort of injury doesn’t feature. Compare this to the suffering experienced by animals — equines including — during live export, and there you’ve got yourself a cause.

Buying from Ireland

In more positive news, the hunting season is now upon us and the claim: “He hunted in Ireland”, instils confidence like no other. But how many lack the assurance to purchase from the emerald isle?

Knowing who to trust, and where to start, is daunting enough. Take heed from H&H hunting editor Polly Portwin, who de-mystifies the process on p24 of this week’s magazine (25 September).

This column was first published in H&H magazine on 25 September 2014