As they pushed on through the towering archway and under the bell tower they saw the spectacle on show.

Her hair was beautifully and tightly bound at the nape of the neck, beneath her carefully brushed, low top-hat. She was modestly made-up, with just a hint of lipstick blending delicately with her tanned high cheekbones and dark mysterious eyes. Diamond stud earrings glinted in the morning sunlight and her ruffled white silk stock was secured at the throat with a matching diamond clasp. Together with her crisp white blouse, the purity of the combination, captured between the plunging V-cut lapels of her elegantly tailed jacket, contrasted sharply with its rich navy-blue cloth. Her upright posture in the saddle amplified her fulsome figure, showing strength across the shoulders, an ample bosom and a slender waist tapering down to firm thighs – with which she gently signalled and cajoled her magnificent steed through the procession of challenging turns and precision steps required by an extremely demanding dressage routine. Her hands – gloved in white – were held low, just above the saddle crop, as she deftly steered her charge into each and every movement with an absolute minimum of dexterity – and her deliberately constrained rise and fall projected the two exquisite creatures as one in perfect harmony, the constant lilting and lolling rhythmical synchronicity simply hypnotising their informal and very appreciative audience.

Once Too Many Times, published by 2QT Publishing, Settle, N Yorks, England