'The rain it raineth every day', as Shakespeare said; but the grand babies and I continue to prowl the Strathearn lanes on the fully documented ‘Dolly the pram’ (11.3hh, good natured and glossy) thus killing several birds with one stone.

Dolly gets thinner, we get further which pleases the dog and our singing is improving too, it’s a fact riding makes people happy.

There has been a lot about mental health in BHS Scotland’s 2019 programme. It began at our equine welfare conference where we had the honour of hearing Bronwen Williams team leader from the 2gether NHS Trust speak on the subject of animal hoarding.

Bronwen is an inspirational person who specialises in the positive effect animals have in people’s lives including during bereavement, loss of a pet or the drive to collect lots of certain species.

“We all have mental health and it fluctuates in all of us; ebbing and flowing through life. It is perfectly possible to have poor mental health but no illness.”

Bronwen described how the normal anxiety that motivates humanity can be tipped over into illness by adverse childhood experiences that lead to things running away into addiction.

And some people become addicted to collecting certain species of animals – in horses certain breeds and type are more likely to be collected; Shetland, Arab or donkeys being among the most popular.

Animal collectors don’t just gather but tend also to neglect; sadly this trend is one that is increasingly seen in Scotland, not massively, but we have had a few cases where before there were none.

Scottish SPCA and World Horse Welfare pick up the pieces in these situations – the role of the BHS is education to make sure equines needs are met every day. We are fortunate in Scotland to have such good partnerships looking after our animals.

We also had Mike Delaney, psychologist and equine assisted learning practitioner, address our recent access away day on the subject of Equine Facilitated Learning.

Mike presented his work with socially challenging young people and military personnel- showing how the horse can help engender good mental health where talking therapies don’t.

This is because horses are ‘biological’ they “put you in your body instead of your mind “as another living being (a powerful one) that needs to be cared for is standing directly in front of you being non-judgemental but releasing a lot of feeling.

Mike explained how the horse elicits the desire to play; they are sensitive and emotionally congruent and often mirror the body language and energy of the people undertaking the therapy.

It is powerful stuff – but also merely an unpicking of the intrinsic pleasure of equine ownership and horse riding that drives us horsey people every day. As someone who runs, cycles and walks a lot it is still true to say that there is something about horses that is so life enhancing.

The Royal Highland Show celebrates this human equine bond in a beautiful way from the foal to the top show jumpers and grand Clydesdales.

This year the common riding is featuring too, it will be a grand spectacle of Borders pageantry and pomp – make time for a cuppa at the BHS Scotland stand next to the all-weather arena – everybody welcome.