First time for everything: Riding a horse

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The Independent Travel

Being the boyfriend of a country girl has its benefits, so when Daisy suggested a few days away in Suffolk I imagined long walks followed by hearty pub lunches. What I wasn't prepared for was to meet the other man in her life – a handsome 15-hand Irish Hunter who holds a far greater place in Daisy's heart than I do. He's been a constant in her life since she was little and the time had come for me to meet and (I hoped) master him.

Louis, though, resplendent in his best saddle and bridle, clearly had other ideas. He was quick to see through my attempt at equine bluster. And while I could, at first anyway, hide from Daisy that I'd never so much as patted a pony, Louis knew straight off that he'd be in charge. The spectacle of my girlfriend pushing me up by my bottom was soon played out for a livery yard full of giggling horse-loving teens.

I felt confident that a childhood of watching the Lone Ranger would see me through. But Louis was reluctant to respond to cries of "Hi-ho Silver!", and we remained stationary as Daisy trotted out of the yard on another steed. Eventually, more out of a desire for grass than my frantic commands and kicks, we were off and Daisy tied on a lead rein to keep me in tow. Being so far off the ground, while lurching from side to side, was at times unnerving, but it was quickly clear why Daisy escapes our tiny flat in the capital for her man in the country at every opportunity. Yes, he yanked and snatched for patches of grass the first chance he got, but the experience was majestic. It's just a shame he didn't seem to like me. "Horses are clever animals," said Daisy. "And Louis just doesn't respect you yet."