Excuse me Ma’am, but we need you to set an example

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Friends and family released balloons on Portsdown Hill on what would have been Katie's 15th birthday on February 4

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Like me, the Queen has had a lifelong passion for horses. As a young princess, she had her first pony, Peggy, at the age of four and was riding by the time she was six.

I had to make do with the occasional ride on a friend’s geriatric plodder and donkey rides on Hayling beach.

In my teens, my mum forked out for a once-a-week lesson at Wickham Riding School, which was a major treat when you’re a one-parent family.

At 18 the Queen was quite an accomplished rider, with a string of blood ponies.

I, on the other hand, was being dragged round the lanes of Stubbington by a hormonal New Forest chestnut mare that cost me £80 from my first wage packet shelf-stacking at Sainbury’s.

In recent times, and at the grand age of 88, the Queen seems to have downsized from horses to the sturdier Fell pony and was spotted out in Windsor last month in her jods and traditional mac get-up.

But, somewhat alarmingly, there was no crash hat. Instead, she had donned a silk scarf.

I reckon it’s about time she was taken to task over what I think is irresponsible and potentially dangerous behaviour.

Wearing a scarf on one’s bonce may keep that hairdo coiffeured Ma’am, but it’s not much use when one’s little pony gets a sniff of the green stuff and bombs off with one.

All riders, whether they are in the public eye or not, should wear a protective hat to reduce the severity of any head injuries suffered should they fall.

While we’re at it, I think they should be made compulsory for cyclists as well as horse riders.

Many years ago, in the days of the Cams Alders gymkhanas at Fareham, I had just jumped a hedge but hadn’t anticipated a ditch a foot in front of me.

Neither did my pony and it slipped and fell. I was thrown clear but ended up somewhat bruised and shaken.

If I hadn’t been wearing a crash hat, the outcome would have been a whole different story.

Whilst I admire the Queen for still wanting to ride,in I think she should be setting an example. Common sense is just as important as horse sense.