Riding a horse means borrowing freedom. In an age in which everything is no more than a click away, it’s refreshing to listen to whispering trees, not nagging deadlines: to be startled by the rush of a reedbuck, not credit card statements; and to talk to our friends, better still our families, not e-mail them.

Burning off a few hundred calories is a bonus.

gaucho 1Bronwyn testing our new ‘gaucho’The start of our weekend test of our new Argentinean ‘gaucho’ saddles saw Troy bounding off in fright at the sight of the sheepskins, and reminded us of the cardinal rule. When Richard III made his famous unplanned dismount and offered up his kingdom for a horse, he’d just broken the first rule of riding; keep your mount between you and the ground.

The Goss family were on a weekend outing, and daughter Bronwyn (now not far shy of 30) hadn’t ridden since she was a pupil in Marie Dawson’s school as a seven year old. So she looked at the shaggy beast she was about to embark upon with some trepidation. As in “Bronwyn & Egor” didn’t have quite the same ring as “Roy Rogers and Trigger,” but in the end she’d be the first to agree, a remarkably pleasant return to the saddle made all the better by the new saddles-cum-airbags. You’d never know until you’ve sat on one.

The revelation? Five year old granddaughter Hannah made her grandfather’s week (or was it year?) with a perfectly competent solo display, aboard Blue. The pictures are better than a thousand words!

gaucho 1Hannah quite contentgaucho 1Hannah aboard Blue