I started riding because my daughter Samantha had a pony, and while she was at school, I'd jump on its back and ride across the field, usually ending up in the hedge. In the end I thought, "The hell with this", and I went and had two riding lessons. I got very bored going round in circles, so I bought an old hunter.
I remember the girl saying, "Whatever happens, don't take him on the moor." Well that was like a red rag to a bull. So I went on the moor and she was quite right of course. We went charging along, with me hanging on the reins, and my whole body horizontal.
The next thing was to go hunting. I'd read the Duke of Beaufort's book, of course, which suggests that you compliment the Master on his hounds. So I went up and said, "Good morning Master, hounds are looking fit and well," although at that stage I wouldn't have known a hound from a ratty terrier.
Anyway, coming back, I was very pleased with myself because I hadn't fallen off during the day. We were going up this little track and I was riding next to the Whip, while the Master was counting hounds, which they do in couples. When he said, "I make it 14, Master", I thought, "There are more than 14 there." So I had a quick count and said, "Make it 28, Master." They remembered me for that.
Hunting isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it proves my theory that if we were all the same, there'd be no assorted biscuits.
Chay Blyth runs The Challenge Business, which organises adventures such as the Atlantic Rowing Race. In 2000, up to 50 boats will cover the 3,000 miles from the Canaries to Barbados.Reuse content