Like a rhinestone cowgirl in star-spangled Jodhpurs

Have your say

The New Forest is a lush and diverse eco-system which supports a number of different species of animal.

Among its rolling heathlands and thick woodlands you can find a number of different animals such as deer, ponies, birds and even pigs at certain times of the year.

Although it’s the ponies it’s most famous for, I trotted off (excuse the pun) to Brockenhurst recently for the annual New Forest Show which has been going since 1921.

It’s been a while since I attended this country show and I was curious to see if it still held that special magic.

After getting off the train I decided to stroll to the showground and boy was it a hike, especially in heels. Luckily, just as I reached the half-way mark a kindly farmer resembling one of the Wurzels stopped and offered me a lift on his tractor.

As we trundled along he told me he was born on the forest although I think he meant a house in the forest and not literally on it.

The show has grown enormously and even though I spent the whole day there I still don’t think I got to see everything on offer.

The Household Cavalry was the highlight for me.

I stood with hundreds of others lining the main arena as these magnificent animals and riders cantered into the ring wowing us with a stunning display to music of equine greatness. It made me proud to be British.

I also really enjoyed the pony club mounted games with children of all ages galloping up and down on their steeds and around obstacles trying to balance a ball on a tennis racquet before leaping into a builders’ sack and seeing who could hop to the finish line first. I felt somewhat envious because it all looked such fun.

Along with all the arena events there were cattle, sheep and goats to admire as well as hundreds of trade stands. You could easily spend a fortune, as I discovered, coming away with a pair of rhinestone-studded Jodhpurs, new riding boots and a box of chocolate-covered New Forest pony poo.

Big thank you to the organisers for inviting me. I can’t wait to do it again next year.