LETTER OF THE WEEK
Sir — Reading Samantha Thurman-Baker’s “Fix it” (8 November) brought back memories of the halcyon days in the 1970s, learning to ride at the Thurman family’s Turville Valley Stud.
My sister, Nic, and I spent every Saturday helping out from dawn ’til dusk in the eager hope of a free ride as well as our £3 lesson. But the highlight of our year was the summer camp when we could immerse ourselves in everything equine.
The week culminated in a hotly contested gymkhana which featured a parents’ race, one year starring my unhorsey mother climbing aboard poor “Checka” and looking for a place to put her handbag.
It was before the days of health and safety, and I’m sure our seats were vastly improved by riding the ponies bareback in a headcollar, through Turville village up to the fields below the famous Cobstone Windmill, which appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The wonderful, indomitable Nan Thurman instilled in us a sense of good stable management, common sense and horsemanship that I hope I have passed on to my daughters (and occasional bareback riding). Rachel Fisher Haslemere, Surrey
The writer of letter of the week wins a bottle of Champagne Taittinger