What is your role for BPIHT?
I am Head of Marketing for Stable Events. We have 7 events ranging from those for 500 people to the biggest festival of the countryside in the UK attracting 120,000 people. The role is not just straight marketing, as part of the senior management team it encompasses business development, event strategy and the creation of new products. I also make a good cup of coffee!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your hobbies…
I have ridden since I was 4 years old. At 12 I got my first horse, Desmond, a 5-year-old Arab. Des and I grew up together. He was only 15hh with his shoes on and I needed something bigger. Various flashy warmbloods came and went. I used to exercise a beautiful 17.3 bay called Maverick, but Des was always there. I lost him 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 29. He was the horse of a lifetime and I haven’t ridden since.
I’m happiest outdoors and in the countryside. You can now find me clay pigeon shooting most weekends being followed around by my 18-month-old cocker spaniel.
What is your favourite thing about BPIHT?
Blenheim Palace is such a special venue. I couldn’t pick a favourite physical thing about BPIHT. Everyone loves the water crossing but the swans are notorious!
What I love most about it is the atmosphere. The layout this year means you can see the Palace from the shopping village with a clear line of sight. It really is spectacular.
Usually on event after the crowds have gone home for the evening, I tend to find a quiet spot overlooking the site to sit and reflect for 15 minutes. It takes an army to put on a successful event and I am so grateful to everyone involved.
What’s the biggest challenge in your role?
The weather. Most things we can control but we haven’t managed to nail this one yet.
Who is your favourite horse and rider combination of all time and who will you be looking out for this year?
The likes of Mary King, Andrew Nicholson and William Fox-Pitt felt like household names when I was growing up, in a way that doesn’t seem to exist anymore.
I followed the career of Bluestone Luke and Kerry Varley as Kerry and I used to be at the same yard as kids. They competed in the 8/9-year-old class at Blenheim in 2009 before going up to CCI**** the following year. This little gelding was only 15.2 and I’m a sucker for the unexpected. He was a hero cross country and was the smallest and youngest horse to go clear at Burghley the following year.
Ros Canter is pure class – her 2023 Badminton winner Lordships Graffalo was bred at Writtle, where I went to college. Yasmin Ingham is certainly one to watch. When the entries open and the ballot is done, I will let you know who my money is on!