I’m not a competitor — I part own the horse, groom it, exercise it and pay half the entry fees and running costs. More importantly perhaps, I spend a considerable amount of time acting as mediator between mother (my sister and co-owner) and her daughter (my niece and rider), who competes the horse.

So on to Kelsall Horse Trials — the first event for both my niece and my horse. Can we get through the day without everyone falling out? Unlikely.

Mother and daughter argue during the riding-in for the dressage. Mother thinks she knows best (and probably does) and tries to tell her hormonal teenage daughter how to get the horse going better. However, she forgets the horse is hormonal too.

The dressage test is completed with an average score (circles too small, horse broke into canter, that type of thing). Niece walks back to lorry scowling, my sister is threatening to load up and go home if a smile doesn’t appear on my niece’s face.

Next the show jumping. The warm up is quite uneventful compared with the dressage. My sister and her daughter are, at least, talking to each other. Show jumping round is good with just one fence down. Niece is happier (although clearly would have preferred a clear), my sister is desperate to tell her where she went wrong. I’m trying to stop World War Three from breaking out and suggests she leaves it until my niece is more ‘receptive’. Does anybody have a gag I can use on my sister?!

On to the cross-country — the good bit. My sister (mother) is looking pale and you can feel her worrying. Niece is relaxed and horse is too. Off they go… Both return home safely, much to the relief of my sister, with a clear round! With peace restored mother and daughter smile at each other and laugh about the dressage… until my sister can’t resist saying “Now, if you had just…”

Ho hum… here we go again…