What does your role as Event Organiser entail?
Imagine the largest symphony orchestra playing a concert on a catamaran. My role is like conducting that orchestra. All of the moving parts need bringing together to create a beautiful sound, whilst bumps and waves are crashing over them!
We’ve got a great permanent team including operations, marketing and sales teams as well as our Stable Events team. We then bring in the sports side like the technical delegates, hugely important volunteers and course designer David Evans. All elements combine and the result is a great weekend of sport and entertainment. Plus a few grey hairs for me and the team.
What is one thing you (or the team) does that you don’t think many people would know about when it comes to organising an event like BPIHT?
That’s a tricky one. At an event like Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, and the other events we do, you have to be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get involved – no one is too important or above cleaning the loos! It’s all hands-on deck. There have been many nights spent doing the sublime and ridiculous, all to ensure the event goes without a hitch. There is a story about a Moroccan Prince that I might share after a glass of wine.
What are you most excited about for BPIHT 2023?
I’m so excited to be part of this iconic event that is such a significant part of the eventing calendar. In particular I love the 8 & 9 year olds class. It’s very exciting as you get to see the stars of the future. BPIHT is so often a stepping stone for younger riders too, moving up to 5*, so you really are seeing the future of eventing at BPIHT.
Grassroots is also particularly close to my heart and something we will be nurturing alongside some of the best equestrian sport in the country.
How did you get into your role?
I’ve always been involved in horses and was part of the Pony Club when I was younger. In fact, I am now DC for my area. This is probably why grassroots is so important to me.
I’ve got a degree in Spanish and Economics, so not that relevant to what I do now! However, I started my equine career in Ad Sales. I was an Account Manager at Horse & Hound until I had my children. From there, I ended up managing Horse & Hound’s outdoor events. This is where I dipped my toes into the water for events and found my passion. As a result of this role, I’ve seen it from both sides now, I’ve been an exhibitor and I’ve been involved as a competitor / owner, I can see how an event should be from most perspectives. I have also been involved with Crufts, Royal Windsor Horse Show, The Game Fair and Olympia.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in organising BPIHT?
You’ve got to balance the books – if you can’t make it financially sustainable it won’t survive. The outward appeal of eventing is not immediately obvious, but such is the thrill of the sport, the glamour of the event and the physical power of the horses, it is easily one of the most accessible and appealing niche sports available, where women and men compete on a level playing field. It is our role to deliver that message to sponsors and partners, but also to the wider public to ensure the longevity and success of the sport as a whole.
What has been the best bit about organising BPIHT so far?
It has to be the volunteers. Horse Trials in particular survive because of the army of volunteers, we absolutely cannot underestimate the power of them. I cannot believe the phenomenal response to volunteering at BPIHT and the passion the volunteers have for the event. They are so proud of BPIHT and we value that very highly. Everyone wants to be a part of the amazing community atmosphere at BPIHT, these volunteers are prepared to work for it.
It’s also amazing working on such a beautiful estate and in stunning surroundings. Blenheim Palace is special and the perfect backdrop for the spectacle of BPIHT. See you in September.