The Knackered Riders Club has been a bit depleted of late, what with holidays and this boiling hot weather, but a couple of us managed to get out for an hour one morning this week.

Led by the ever-patient Anna resembling a tangerine (no, it wasn’t the Love Island fake tan, but an orange T-shirt and matching hat cover with a large furry pompom on top for extra impact), we walked out across the golf course.

I was lucky enough to have a ride on the yard’s latest acquisition, a gorgeous maxi cob called Delilah, who only arrived a few weeks ago but is already proving to be an absolute delight. Dark bay, with a white blaze, she is a big girl at 16.2hh and quite chunky but rides like a dream. She doesn’t ride as big as she looks and is definitely as comfortable as my armchair at home.

The hills around us are hard for her, having come from a much flatter area of the country, but she is willing, kind, solid and oh so smooth at trot. Her canter is even better apparently, but it was too hot to do much so we kept to walk and trot.

Nothing seemed to bother her and we passed a mound of builders sand, which my usual mount Patch would have found scary, but she didn’t bat an eyelid at it. A truck with a load of stone on the back rattling its way around the narrow bends, and also some strange-looking hairy brown creatures which I wasn’t sure whether they were sheep or goats also didn’t deter her. She just kept going forward and has already been dubbed Delightful Delilah.

My friend J was on Ginger and Anna was on Jeanie and we enjoyed an hour of hacking before the heat got too much.

Back at the yard, the horses were treated to a cooling shower with the hose then left inside their stables until the temperature dropped later on.

Satisfied and feeling happy, we took our chairs outside into the stone archway that leads to the lane and enjoyed a cup of tea and a biscuit. Living the dream heh? And somehow in just 20 minutes, we managed to cover everything from divorce and death to pensions and partners past and present. That’s the thing about riding, it brings people together and although we may all have different backgrounds and different life experiences, we have that common bond. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of having had a ride, done the jobs and then earned a sit down and a chat. The horses were all happy and we were content to just enjoy those few moments of peace. You really can’t beat it. If you could bottle that feeling of contentment, it would be worth a fortune.

Article continues below…


You might also be interested in:


But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all smelling of roses at the yard, there may be trouble ahead when we oldies all start fighting over who is going to ride Delilah. She’s such a love that Anna may have to ration us. Anna had already threatened to cancel her holiday to ensure no one else nabbed her. But if anyone can keep order, it’s Anna, and there’s something about her tangerine outfit that makes us step back and take notice. Behind the smile, there’s a tough cookie and that’s a good thing and you really cannot argue with a woman dressed in orange.

Diane

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.