No horsing around – this great sport is the real deal

Nick Skelton after winning gold
Nick Skelton after winning gold
Have your say

Wow! How amazing were the Olympic Games and didn’t we do well – 67 medals is an amazing achievement.

The games in Rio have shown the whole world was watching. I had so many late nights and early mornings glued to my TV screen, even downloading the BBC sports app on to my mobile so as not to miss anything.

The cycling and taekwondo were amazing, but it was the equestrianism that I have been really interested in. Although it’s caused a few heated debates with my non-horsey friends who have said it’s not really a sport.

So to all those people out there who think it isn’t, I say this: How many sports do you know where you are trusting your life to a 1,000lb animal and how many sports do you know where you and an animal are in sync, sharing one mind, one soul and one ride?

Competitors have to work with something that has its own brain and you don’t just have to learn the skills to ride at top level, you have to train the horse to that level as well.

We could not compete without our equine friends, the same as a cyclist couldn’t cycle without a bike and a canoeist would not be able to take part without a canoe and so on.

Equestrian sport has flown under the radar for many years, but times are changing. The success of riders like dressage star and triple gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin and her wonder nag Valegro have brought the sport to the fore. What a horse!

It’s great to see women taking part,being competitive and getting down and dirty.

A huge hats off to my childhood hero, veteran showjumper Nick Skelton, who at the age of 58 won gold in an emotional nailbiting finale with his horse Big Star who certainly lived up to his name.

Truly inspiring. Nick made a lot of people happy and proud to be British.

To recover from serious injuries and still succeed made his gold medal extra special.

As for Big Star –what a boy. It just goes to show you can achieve your dreams at any age. Well done to all those who took part in the 2016 Olympics.


I had to pop into the local branch of my bank recently as I had mislaid my debit card.

The clerk cheerfully informed me she would send me a ‘contactless’ card and that I could use it for making even a small purchase like a newspaper.

I don’t know about you, but I like paying for stuff with good old-fashioned cash, most of which is spent in Starbucks and Pets at Home.

Banks seem to want a cashless economy so they can close all their branches and leave no banks open at all.

But what would happen if there was a power cut?

Would we all be storming the supermarkets?

Sorry Mr Banker, but I will continue to splash my cash the way that I have always known.

In pounds and pence.


I’m so happy The Great British Bake Off is back on our TV screens – a perfect antidote to those midweek blues.

I enjoy getting to know the bakers and having a bet with myself as to who is going to be the winner.

The 12 contestants seem to be quite an eclectic bunch this year.

I am already inspired by Michael Georgiou who has spent months honing in on his baking skills with just a bowl, wooden spoon and a £5 second-hand mixer.

My efforts at baking sadly always seem destined for the bin.

Actually, I must confess the real reason that I love Bake Off is so I can spend an hour swooning at the delicious judge Paul Hollywood.

He can knead my bloomers any day....