Martin talks about his new documentary on ITV1, Horsepower (Sunday, Aug 22), and his passion for horses…

Where did your interest in everything equine begin?
“It started through my daughter Emily and encouraged by my wife Philippa, who had ridden when she was a young girl, but never had a pony of her own. Emily has been riding since she was two; she started on a Shetland called Scooby-Doo at Stag Lodge Stables in Richmond Park, who has launched a million careers I reckon!

“When we moved to our farm, Emily and Phillipa had horses, but I didn’t. Someone told me they had a horse that would be perfect for me, but I wasn’t tempted. I used to ride when I was a kid, but that was it.”

So at what point did you get back in the saddle?
“…We all went out to New Zealand to do a film [2007’s ITV1 drama The Man Who Lost His Head] and we went riding as a family and that was the first time the three of us had ever been out together and I just thought, ‘This is bliss!’ That clinched it. I got Chester as soon as we got back.”

What can we expect to see in Horsepower?
“I cut cattle with some cowboys. I went on the Wounded Knee Memorial Ride with some Native Americans, which was incredible. I visited the Rodeo International Finals in Las Vegas – that wasn’t really my thing – but I played snow polo in Aspen and filmed mustangs from a helicopter, which was amazing.”

Anything closer to home?
“We filmed with police horses in Manchester and they were amazing. We took part in a training session with them and we were banging bits of wood and klaxons and shouting and they kept on coming, it was very powerful. Apparently, people who have season tickets for the football take along a bag of carrots for the police horses – they love to see them.”

And you saw a rehearsal for the State Opening of Parliament…
“That was amazing, mind blowing! The rehearsal was at 3.30am. We filmed them getting the Queen’s carriage horses ready at the stables behind the Palace and then I was put in a rehearsal carriage behind the Queen’s. We trotted round to the front where we were met by about 250 household cavalry and 150 King’s troops, all mounted – horses gleaming, hooves shinning. We trotted down The Mall lined by saluting guards!

“We rode down through Admiralty Arch into the Palace of Westminster where we had a cup of tea and a biscuit and went back again. Two hours later the roads were opened and nobody knew it had happened!”