I don't think there's a lot you could do to improve this Elaine.
With the distance you were away from the scene (I assume you had a kit lens at full length
[55mm]) you wouldn't have improved the quality of the shot by closing the aperture down. The detail is 'recognition' rather than 'precise identification'. The pier, the horses, the groups of birds on the water in the distance, the horizon. All recognisable and sufficiently sharp to be so. Any further sharpness wouldn't have made these details more identifiable.
The composition, IMO, is great.
The crop is ideal, again, IMO.
The contrasting colours of the sky/clouds and the sand forefront is, IMO, very attractive and the tone, just about right.
The sharpness is good. IMO.
To improve the shot:
I wonder why you responded in the manner that you say you did?
The horses don't appear to be moving at any considerable speed & everything else (with the possible exception of birds taking off/landing in the distance
) is stationary.
So why the rush
? Your camera was already on the tripod
I would have thought you would have had time to assess the shot you wanted - check your camera for the optimum settings, maybe even had time to set up a series of 3 or 5 bracketed shots.
Had you done all that I don't think you would have actually achieved an appreciably better result than you have.
But, from what you've described as the way you took the shot, I suspect you had little confidence that you'd got the shot you wanted, until you loaded your memory card into your PC.
So my suggestion for improvement is:
Take you time. It's often better to take the shot that you prepared for, than to snap at the situation that presented itself to you.
All the best,
BTW ~ I'm a fellow Northumbrian. Born just out of Bamburg. I'm unsure whether that's to my credit or not