It’s a damp and blustery Saturday morning and Sue Enfield is about to set off to buy groceries for the weekend, but instead of reaching for the car keys Sue collects her riding hat and gloves and heads for the stable.

While many people hop in the car and drive to the supermarket to shop for the weekend, Sue often combines her grocery run to the local farm shop with exercising her horse.

By using the bridleway network she can get to Summerhill Farm Shop from her home in Llanteg within an hour, safe in the knowledge that she will avoid traffic for most of the route.

Admittedly this isn’t a major shop — on this particular morning she buys lamb chops, purple sprouting broccoli and Welsh cakes — but she is supporting local producers and getting some fresh air and exercise at the same time.

Sue’s saddle is fitted with panniers to carry the produce back home.

“My horse was introduced slowly to carrying saddlebags, it’s probably a good idea to do a few dry runs first to get the horse used to it,” she suggests.

“She is now quite capable of carrying a few pounds of potatoes, some meat and vegetables or whatever else is available at the farm shop. For me it is a nice way of exercising while having a practical goal.”

Sue is the south west Wales regional chairman of the British Horse Society and was recently elected chairman of the Pembrokeshire Local Access Forum.

In that role she works with local authorities to discuss ways of providing a good rights of way network for all users, whether they be on horseback, cyclists, people exercising their dogs or those with disabilities.

The forum has been working together to develop long distance routes to encourage local people to ride further away from their homes and to entice tourists to Pembrokeshire to discover hidden parts than can only be accessed by the rights of way network.

“Everyone knows about the coastal path but we are hoping to develop a long distance route from Amroth to the north of the county which in effect will create a circular route,” Sue explains.

She is no stranger to long distance routes. Two years ago, when Pembrokeshire was host county at the Royal Welsh Show, she rode with a group of other riders from a blessing at St David’s Cathedral to Builth Wells, a journey which took them ten days.

Some bridleways are used more than others, but etiquette dictates that riders should keep off the paths when routes are muddy, thereby protecting them for when the weather improves.

Quite a number of the bridleways are used by a new breed of tourist.

“There are more people bringing their horses on holiday in the same way that people bring their dogs,” says Sue.

“There are a number of establishments that can cater very nicely for horses.”

And local businesses welcome —and benefit from — customers on horseback. On one occasion last year Sue and a group of seven other riders tied their horses up in the car park at Colby Woodland Gardens and enjoyed a leisurely coffee break in the tearoom.

The benefits to businesses can mostly be felt out of peak season.

“Horse riders don’t want to be riding in high season when there is a lot of traffic around, they prefer low season when there are fewer people, which means they are helping the local economy by getting out and about,” she says.

Angela Rogers, of the family-run Summerhill Farm Shop, is delighted to see customers on horses.

“They get a warm welcome like everyone who comes here,” she says.

Fortunately for Sue, her saddlebags have zips so there is no danger of her shopping spilling out on the trek back home.

“I have yet to lose anything, the secret is not to overfill them!” she confides.