This month I was for­tu­nate

Best known for pre­sent­ing Blue Peter, GMTV, The Na­tional Lot­tery draws and Wish You Were Here, this house­hold name talks Span­ish horses, how a gun horse took con­trol while on cam­era and why she knows so much about mugs

Your Horse (UK) - - Editor’s Letter -

enough to have a chat with TV pre­sen­ter Anthea Turner for our Take Five fea­ture. She was so pas­sion­ate about horses and I could tell she’d talk about them for­ever if she could.

How did you get into horses?

To be hon­est, I’ve no idea. I wasn’t mad keen, but my sis­ter was and when my par­ents fi­nally gave in and bought her a pony, I some­how ended up with one too. Hack­ing was my thing. I hated gymkhanas — I just wasn’t com­pet­i­tive. Pepsi was too strong for me, though, and scared of mo­tor­bikes too, so we of­ten ended up in ditches. He was even­tu­ally sold on and then I rode my sis­ter’s pony, Cara­mac. I lost in­ter­est when she did.

Did you ride again?

Yes, I got back into it in my late 30s when I was go­ing through a di­vorce and needed some­thing to do. A rid­ing school in Rich­mond taught me about Span­ish rid­ing and Nat­u­ral Horse­man­ship, and this time I learned to ride prop­erly, as I was such a bad rider as a child. Be­fore I knew it, I’d bought Caramelo (which means ‘sweet’ in Span­ish), an An­dalu­sian. He was kept at home and we’d hack for miles. They are such easy, gen­tle horses and I would def­i­nitely have an­other. We were to­gether for 21 years.

Who do you ad­mire in the eques­trian world?

Nick Skel­ton. He’s the orig­i­nal come­back kid. He’d writ­ten him­self off and then look what hap­pened. I used to present prizes at Horse of the Year Show and got to know him quite well, so see­ing him win gold at the Olympics was amaz­ing — one of those mo­ments I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber.

Have you ever worked with horses on TV?

I’ve done pro­mo­tional work. The scari­est ex­pe­ri­ence was a road safety pro­mo­tion, which the mounted po­lice and House­hold Cav­alry were also at. I was head to toe in safety gear and rid­ing 18hh Ivor, a gun horse. We’d done the pic­tures and the po­lice de­cided we’d have a lit­tle can­ter and told me to kick on. Well, Ivor bolted and be­cause he was used to drag­ging a heavy gun, he didn’t feel my at­tempts to stop him. There I was, hurtling to­wards the Royal Al­bert Hall with peo­ple scat­ter­ing out of my way. All I could think of was how I was go­ing to die dressed in flu­o­res­cent — the irony! I could see the buses and the road loom­ing and I was just think­ing of bail­ing, when out of the blue Ivor put the brakes on. He def­i­nitely knew what he was do­ing and had ev­ery in­ten­tion of stop­ping. He just didn’t bother telling any­one else!

Do you have any box sets or se­ries you’re binge­ing on?

Yes, I’m ad­dicted to Black Mir­ror. I still have a fair few to get through though.

What would be scarier, jump­ing Becher’s Brook at Ain­tree or tack­ling the ski jump on The Jump? [Anthea was a con­tes­tant on this haz­ardous show]

Def­i­nitely Becher’s. At least with the ski jump I was in con­trol of the skis. Horses have their own minds and I wouldn’t want to rely on one when tack­ling such a big ob­sta­cle.

If a film was made of your life, who would you want to play you?

I’d play my­self — who bet­ter!

What’s your favourite hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion?

If the sun is shin­ing, I would al­ways choose Wales, Corn­wall or Devon. I also re­ally like Ma­jorca and Ibiza — they’re easy places to visit and I en­joy the cul­ture.

And fi­nally, how do you take your tea?

Builders! Al­ways York­shire Tea with one sugar. I use a mug, not a cup. I’m from Stoke-on-Trent and was brought up sur­rounded by pot­ter­ies. I know a lot about mugs.

“All I could think of was how I was go­ing to die dressed in flu­o­res­cent — the irony!”

Above: Anthea adores An­dalu­sians. “They are such easy, gen­tle horses and I would def­i­nitely have an­other”

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