THREE brays for Wallace the mule!

Thanks to the sterling efforts of his rider, Christie McLean, the 11-year-old son of a donkey and a mare has been accepted as part of the British Dressage establishment.

He will now be allowed to compete in top equestrian events, providing he resists the temptation to chomp any flowers surrounding the competition ring (the sort of anti-social behaviour that got him into trouble in the first place).

The chief executive of British Dressage, Jason Brautigam, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Wallace and his fellow mules to compete with BD, as part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity in dressage, making the sport more accessible to all.’

It is not clear whether Mr Brautigam’s tongue was in his cheek as he spoke, so he is to be congratulated either for aching political correctness or a sense of humour.

But he should beware: the floodgates could be about to open.

Expect a queue of hinnies (offspring of stallion and female donkey), zebras, zebroids, mustangs, kiangs, even pantomime horses keen to have their 15 minutes of fame in the sawdust pit. Is it fair to exclude quaggas just because they are extinct? Where will the transgender agenda fit in? What if a penguin waddles up, self-identifying as a piebald pony?

And if mules are now socially acceptable, why not gladiator sandals, patent-leather dancing shoes, leopardskin kitten heels, gym pumps or seven-league boots?

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Alan Ashworth
Alan Ashworth is a former national newspaper journalist now retreated to the Ribble Valley, where he grows cacti and tramps the fells with the family dog Bingo. He and his wife Margaret run a website, A-M Records , which includes their collected TCW columns plus extra features including Tracks of the Day. Requests, queries and comments can be sent to