I desperately repeat my mantra as I walk slowly across the muddy field:
I must not run.
I must not fall.
And above all, the jet-black mountain of muscle and sinew that is busy snorting clouds of vapour-laden air and digging a mighty hoof through the soft earth, is not what it appears to be.
I’m further from the safety of the gate than from the beast when it finally breaks its stance and trots a few heavy paces towards me, expecting me to turn and flee. Instead, I take another tentative step and this time when it bows its head and launches forward it’s the real thing: a thundering, full-blooded, earthshaking charge. My legs tremble and I stagger half a pace back before I can stop myself.
“I know what you are,” I say, in as steady a voice as I can manage.