I was told no jumping in my first season. Sounded sensible. But things don't always go to plan. Photo credit and permission from: JSBeePhotography.com.
On the day in question the Field had gone over a tiger trap while the non-jumping field waited for the gate to be opened to let the wheezy, windy or wise through.
But while waiting I decided the jump was benign. The ground was firm, the approach square and my horse calm. I gave the big guy a nudge towards the County's smallest fence (see photo) and tried to ensure I was sitting at the back of the saddle with my feet forwards. (Ed: eh?*)
The horse went forward and over without a flicker and we both landed surprisingly comfortably. Half the Field turned to see as they were gathered on the other side and there was the odd twinkle and tut.
I was secretly very pleased with myself. Not only did I take this massive obstacle without any encouragement but did right as my wife was saying "so we'll stay right here and then, when the gate is open, we'll....". Well, it never hurts to surpass a woman's expectations occasionally.
As I landed I noticed my own two small children had been foot following. For once I got to be the hero in their eyes. In fairness my three-year-old jumps larger things on her pony and my five-year-old could jump this fence himself unmounted but it stands as a Thing Achieved.
Day two out hunting and we had got that unpleasant task out of the way.
We milled around. I tried to be casual but my wife knows when I'm feeling pleased with myself. We decided to end the day on a high note and head back to the boxes.
* Editor's note: Fear not, dear Reader, this position sounds alarming but the picture reassures us. Will is one hundred per cent up to date with Captain Federico Caprilli's 'forward jumping seat' developed in the late 1800s. And his jumping eye contact is excellent.