Goodnight – Tessa Waugh’s hunting diary: ‘Handy pony turns circus star’ *H&H Plus*

Complacency turns to terror as Tessa Waugh is left clinging to the reins of a rearing pony while her six-year-old gamely hangs on – before withdrawing from the ensuing handy pony class

Sometimes I chastise myself for getting in a state before pony events; try to rationalise the churning stomach, loss of appetite and butterflies. This is not warfare or a difficult shift in A&E. Why get so uptight? And then something happens that justifies every dud emotion.

Last weekend, Mary and Alec were doing their first proper cross-country course. Jack was entered for the side serving, a fun class for under-eights taking place beforehand. In my fevered imaginings, this should have been the most relaxing part of the day. Jack rides the old-timer, Josh, who is totally reliable in every situation. All I needed to do was lead him around some poles on the ground, complete a handy pony course and some mounted games.