There's a game I play with my children. We normally go for a ride on a donkey, down to one of the little bridges over the stream, where we tie the donkey on the hedge and play Pooh-sticks. You drop the sticks in the river on one side, and see whose comes under the bridge first. It's the easiest thing to play after you've gone up the road, trying to entertain everybody. I normally end up broke, because even at their age, they race me for money.
Gymkhanas; that's a good game, isn't it? We go at the weekends during the summer holidays. Again, I have to race about a lot. The kids enjoy it as they're all pretty competitive. There's potato races, a sack race and maybe a flag race. It's just a lot of fat dads trying to run like hell with little kids on ponies. You hope your kid doesn't fall off. I can tell you I'm a very bad loser.
There's a serious side to gymkhanas. Children learn to be good losers and winners, and it probably stands them in good stead if they want to take up equestrian riding later in life, so it's a game with a purpose.
I did gymkhanas when I was a kid. I remember a wheelbarrow race. That's when one partner starts on the horse and gallops round, and then you've got yourself a little mate somewhere, waiting to be wheelbarrowed. You have to jump off the horse, pick up your wheelbarrow by the ankles and run. I can remember doing that with a lad a bit younger than me called Andrew Wonnacott. I was pushing him along, and his trousers came off. He was very embarrassed to end up with no trousers, but I wouldn't put him down until I'd won.
The official rules of Pooh-sticks may be found in chapter six, `In Which Pooh Invents a New Game and Eeyore Joins in', of `The House at Pooh Corner' by AA Milne, available in paperback from Mammoth, pounds 5.99, or in `The World of Pooh' (Methuen, pounds 12.99).Reuse content