Sarah Todd: Young hopes pinned to handsome veteran are shredded in the rain

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WHERE is the year going? It’s impossible to believe that we’re now into June.

This weekend’s Bramham International Horse Trials signals the start of a whirlwind of things going on from now until back-end.

We took our son to his first show of the year. Time will tell if he’ll go again as there was so much hanging around in the rain and then he wasn’t picked out as one of the winners.

He was convinced old Katie would win the veteran class but she didn’t. She looked a picture with a shining coat and new coloured browband bought with his own money from the horse-muck business.

He was almost in tears as he rode out of the ring, saying it wasn’t fair as the pony that had won was at least 10 years younger.

Although he was told, in no uncertain terms, that that’s showing – it’s either your day or not – he perhaps had a valid point.

There are so many animals living longer these days, with lighter workloads and specialist feeding, perhaps a pony should no longer be classed as a veteran at 14? Or maybe classes should be split between those 15 to 20 and then another one for the really old brigade.

Anyway, we tried to buoy him along with the achievement of riding around the showring by himself – with no lead rein. There were plenty of much older riders still being led around with mothers showing striking similarities to the children’s film character Nanny McPhee in their over-the-top rig-outs.

He’s a bit windy about jumping as Velvet, the deceased Shetland, used to send him out of the side door with leaps that averaged three times bigger than any obstacle in front of her. But these competitions appeal to his mother as there’s none of the plaiting and preening of getting ready for the showring. You just go in and jump.

The big names taking part in today’s cross-country day at Bramham will have all given their parents plenty of stress over the years. Father Christmas gave our daughter an autograph book and she’s determined to add to her collection of three – William Fox-Pitt, Tina Fletcher and Ellen Whitaker.

It was this time last year that this columnist started complaining about the quality/price of food on offer at the county’s shows. The children normally beg for a hot dog at Bramham, which brings to mind a new campaign by the Countryside Alliance.

Current European Union (EU) labelling regulations mean food labels refer to the place the product was last processed. So sausages made in Britain using Danish pork can legitimately be labelled as British sausages. Outrageous and something by which Country Week readers will doubtless be equally appalled.