It was a rainy day, another grey one and soggy underfoot. Freddie's belly was wet with mud, being so close to the ground. A leapt on to the tiny pony, grinning, glad to have him all to herself today.
"Heels down, keep your hands down, well done, look up, push him over, don't let him cut the corners, you're doing really well..." I instructed her, keeping close by the cheeky pony's side.
A desperately wants to ride well. She wants to do it for me, I know that. She tries so hard and gets so frustrated when she loses her balance.
And then some walkers tramped across the next door field, Freddie must have caught sight of them and .....wooooooosh....he shot off at a miniature gallop as I watched my daughter hang on, screaming and finally to be dumped in a puddle full of sand. I rushed over to her, and cuddled her amidst big, fat salty tears of shock while the little pony careered around the school, looking quite pleased with himself.
Of course she got straight back on, because that's what you do - I soothed her and explained to her what had happened and then we went for a walk around the forest where Freddie behaved impeccably.
I felt so terribly guilty. I had let her off the lead-rein, I am the one encouraging riding and all things horsey, it was my idea that we rode for a love bombing afternoon and now I felt awful. Putting my little girl in danger made me feel very sick all the way home, she was seemingly unbothered.
Character building they say - or another reason to believe that you're not very good at this parenting lark at all.