IWAS most interested to read Caroline Nokes’ column (August 10) referring to the importance of equestrianism to the rural economy.

I am not a horsey person, although I often see riders trot past me house, often leaving a calling card behind them.

Perhaps Mrs Nokes who seems to be something of an authority could enlighten me on a matter that often puzzles me? In my travels throughout the Hampshire countryside over 50 years I have seen horses of all kinds, even strings of racehorses and quite often see them unattended in fields or paddocks.

On those occasions I have sometimes seen them running free but never witnessed them jumping a fence. They never, ever do a foxtrot or soft shoe shuffle. Mostly they just stand around or graze.

I have seen pictures of cowboys at rodeos in the States breaking in wild Mustangs— breaking meaning I guess, breaking their spirit until they realise obedience is the only option.

But to make a horse perform the kind of movements associated with dressage must require severe restraints being placed on their hooves or even made to suffer pain to make them lift their legs high or perform unnatural steps.

I don’t believe a kindly whisper or a promise of an extra bag of oats or even a kiss on the nose is going to achieve the awful manoeuvres that have to go through.

It is as cruel as making an elephant sit on a stool and wave its trunk in a circus arena.

I understand that seals can balance balls on their noses because they sometimes to similar things naturally.

I would love to be proved quite wrong in my assumptions.

Over to you Caroline.

John Scase, Abbotts Ann