My Beautiful Blenheim 2017

My Beautiful Blenheim 2017

Having finally found a moment to sit and get this written in the Autumn rain, it’s hard to believe it has already been a week since I landed back at home after probably one of my favourite events of the year (although there have been a few…)

img_8524

For any of you who haven’t been to Blenheim Palace itself (during the famous horse trials or not) can I please suggest that you go! It is simply stunning. From the opulence of the golden globes that sit above the Palace to the wonderful Water Terrace that begs for a moment of calm, there are treasures at every turn and I well and truly fell in love.

img_8517

Now I know just how lucky I am to get to two the things I do for “work” and this weekend was no different. I get to work with some pretty cool people and perhaps some of the coolest are the RedHanded TV guys. While I was with them filming for the Event Rider Masters (ERM) show opener with the legend that is Alice Plunkett (Fox-Pitt), I got to see some of the behind the scenes areas of the Palace, which just so happened to be the birthplace of Winston Churchill and it was amazing! Having worked for a while as Visitor Services Manager at the National Trust’s Belton House near Grantham (another of Capability Brown’s greatest landscape design triumphs), I had access all areas around one of the most amazing stately homes in the Country. This included being allowed to rifle through the extensive attic rooms and I got to see some incredible antiques, letters and sketches, some of which changed the course of Great Britain’s future. It is safe to say that my curiosity about the past has only grown since then.

The 2017 SSang Yong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials was playing host to this year’s Event Rider Masters Series Finale and what a final it was. With Gemma Tattersall having already secured the Series Title, 2nd and 3rd place on the podium were still within reach for a big number of competitors and the small matter of winning Blenheim’s ERM CIC3* class was very much at the front of everyone’s minds.

img_8606

As a huge eventing geek being able to spend time with Diarm Byrne from Equiratings is always fascinating and he had spotted that 29 combinations had posted sub 40 dressage scores coming into the final leg of the 2017 Event Rider Masters. Now this time last year Diarm had promised that we would have 30 in the 30s and that didn’t quite happen but last weekend, joined by 7 other combinations, Alex Hua Tian and the majestic Don Geniro became 2017’s 30th ERM dressage score in the 30s. Putting their Jardy ERM dressage test ghosts to bed, they sat in 3rd place in the Blenheim ERM field overnight on an amazing 36.4.

Perhaps the most incredible achievement of the whole series for me was new mum Jonelle Price and Classic Moet posting a very respectable 47.3. For any of us who have had children the very fact that Jonelle was back in the saddle just 3 weeks after Otis’ tricky birth is pretty phenomenal, let alone the fact that she was competing at one of the world’s toughest and most prestigious 3* events! As always her and Molly were a joy to watch and it wont be long before they are topping podiums again!

img_8613

My Ones to Watch and EquiRatings pre-event tip, Izzy Taylor and the 11 year old bay gelding, Be Touchable, arrived at Blenheim on the back of their Millstreet CIC3* win. Performing an impressive dressage test and collecting numerous 9s, Izzy and Be Touchable smashed their CIC3* PB of 36.6 with an incredible 35.7 and lead from start to finish adding just 1.2 time faults to their score to take Leg 7 of the ERM.

It was lovely to see a new face at the top of the leaderboard adjust goes to show that the Event Rider Masters momentum doesn’t look to be slowing down at all… In fact, standing in front of over 200 riders, ERM CEO Chris Stone announced next year’s calendar. Including a leg in America, 3 in Europe and 3 possibly 4 in the UK, ERM is continuing to move forward, reaching millions of sports fans globally as it goes and I have everything crossed that they want little old me as part of the machine next year too!

img_8640

I think I’ve said it before but seeing two of my brands successfully working together makes me very happy and this is exactly what has happened this year with Team Monart and ERM. Niall and Polly at Monart very kindly donated the ERM Owners prizes this year with a 2 night stay including breakfast for 2 at the Monart Spa, one of Conde Naste’s top 3 Spa Hotels in the world, given to the winning owner for each leg and a 2 night stay for 2, again with breakfast, but this time in the hotel’s exclusive suite for the duration of the 2017 Monart Sale,  donated for the Series winning rider. The collaboration seemed to work very well for both parties and I look forward to hearing what the owners (and Gemma T) think about their stay at Monart – it really is incredibly beautiful!

Blenheim isn’t just amazing because of the world class eventing – the shopping is pretty cool too. Last year I was taken to the most amazing little stand by Alice (please be aware I spent the whole time pinching myself that actual Alice Plunkett off the tele was showing me her favourite places to shop). 64 South was our first stop then and it was mine again this year… I absolutely love their colour pops and bright twists on traditional styles and their stand didn’t disappoint this time either! Their beautifully colourful handwoven baskets are simply gorgeous and add a pop of colour to any room without losing their traditional basket charm… (www.64south.co.uk)

img_1705

My next stop was to see the gorgeous gang at Mackenzie and George who sell THE most beautiful belts, hats, feathered hat pins, bags and accessories you have ever seen… They make all of their leather goods (including their stunning Windsor Clutch Bag) by hand in their family run, rural workshop in Shropshire and each piece takes it’s inspiration from British Equestrian & Countryside lifestyles. They literally only use the very best materials and vegetable tanned leathers and solid brass fittings are the cornerstones of their brand ensuring that their products stand up to the lifestyle for which they are intended! (www.mackenzieandgeorge.com)

img_8424

I wouldn’t be a true countryside lover if I wasn’t ever so slightly obsessed by Fairfax and Favor. Not helped by the fact that they seem to be at EVERY event I go to (and I go to A LOT of events) my love of the brand has been enhanced by their stunning Amira over the knee boots. Looking amazing when styled with traditional white jeans and a tweed blazer or as part of a more modern country inspired outfit with a dress and beautiful fedora I am seriously struggling not to buy a pair for myself… I am saving all of my pennies as we speak! (www.fairfaxandfavor.com)

19023720_1972293346325120_7317037181228925726_o

With countless other beautiful brands exhibiting at Blenheim I had to pick my favourite three this time or we would be here for hours..!

It is very safe to say that with the event season drawing to a close, I am already getting giddy about the prospect of what ERM is set to achieve in 2018, couple that with the UK hosting two of the best events in the World at Badminton an Burghley and the fact that I get to work with some of the most exciting eventing based brands around – next year is already getting me VERY VERY excited..!

Taking a tiny turn…

Taking a tiny turn…

As some of you will already know I am OBSESSED with eventing – sometimes quite unhealthily and I have made the somewhat tentative decision to harness that obsession… After a lot of soul searching and a bit of a slap from my business mentor I am heading in much more of a purposeful direction with both my business and my blogging.

7d0366d8-ad38-4a8f-aa6a-d5fd9c4d4ea3

I have struggled hugely with ‘fitting’. I have never really understood where I sit in terms of who I am, what I love or what I should ‘be’ but it is slowly all getting much more clear.

Far from being a super stylish, super amazing Country Style Blogger like Harriet Lily or McClounie & Armstrong (two of my favourites), I don’t have the style or authority that people would want to follow. However, I do know my Eventing and I absolutely live and breathe it. So if you would like to keep up with the very latest in eventing lifestyle, be that the wonderful horses, the uber talented jockeys, the innovative ERM (Event Rider Masters), the brands and incredible people who come along to event after event selling their GORGEOUS wares, the events themselves or the locations in which they are set, then I would LOVE you to come for the ride with me.

img_7894

And the reason I am disclosing this… I need to be accountable to you all. I need you to tell me when I haven’t blogged enough, or if I’ve written about something you are not interested in, tell me, tell me what you want to hear about and I’ll dig as deep as I can into the backstage world of the Eventing Scene both in the UK and on occasion abroad too..!

img_3031

I can only grow and get better for you lot and I really really want to do that… Exciting times… I hope!!

#BeautifulBusiness – EvoEquine Ltd

#BeautifulBusiness – EvoEquine Ltd

Beautiful businesses exist all around us…

Your local Artisan Baker, a creative Garden Designer, an inspirational Festival Organiser or the seller of beautiful things, there are no boundaries…

I would love to give you all an insight into the beautiful brains & businesses that I stumble across as I wander through my lovely little life…

… I’m pretty sure everyone will agree that this next business is built on beautiful products. Launched in January 2016 by Alicia Leonard, EvoEquine was set up to create evolutionary equine products. Refusing to innovate for the sake of innovation, Alicia responds to what she thinks horses and owners need whilst keeping things fun and super stylish. I mean, who wouldn’t want a set of rainbow stirrups in their life??

 

EvoEquine Noble Bridle

I sent Alicia the following headings and simply asked her to jot down what they inspired her to write… no guidelines, simply her thoughts and feelings & I here is what she said…

Inspiration:

Everything around me! I always keep an open mind and am constantly on the look out for new ways to do things. I try to stay very aware of what other industries are doing and try not to get too wrapped up in the equestrian bubble. After all, great things come from outside of your comfort zone.

Motivation:

This life doesn’t last forever… Grim perhaps, to always be thinking of the end, but it’s the reality. We really cannot afford to waste a single second. I spent a lot of years doing jobs I didn’t want to do and I will never go back. Life is just too short not to be motivated.

Captivation:

I am a very all or nothing person. If I want something, I will stop at nothing to get it. (It took me months to work out how to get Rainbow bits for example, but I didn’t stop and it was worth it.) Now however the Rainbow Gloss madness inside me has subsided a little bit it’s all about YouTube and video! There are so many fantastic YouTube channels out there, some I can watch for far too long. There doesn’t however seem to be much equestrian content on YouTube at the moment especially in comparison to other industries. So, tri-pod has been purchased, YouTube channel set up and filming has begun. Watch this space 😀

Position:

EvoEquine is in a weird place in the market, and I love that! We’re very serious about equine comfort and spend a lot of time researching, designing and developing bridles that work for the horse, not against. On the other hand, we’re very light hearted and fun and never take life too seriously, something I hope that is reflected in the Rainbow Gloss collection. We’re a tiny business at the moment having only been up and running for just over 18 months, but we have a fantastically diverse customer base due to the contrasting range of products.

Differentiation:

As above, we’re a bit of a “weird” business with our priorities firmly remaining in equine comfort all whilst we dazzle the market with with our Rainbow Gloss. The contrast of the two is something that makes us really quite different.

Intention:

In the next few months we’re aiming to become a truly global company as we work with retailers around the world. Our product line will be expanding too, both by increasing our range of technical comfort bridles and adding more lines to our wonderful whacky products!

Information:

If you would like to find out more about the beautiful business that is EvoEquine Ltd, here are the details you need:
Facebook: @EvoEquine 
Instagram: @evoequine
Pinterest: EvoEquine Ltd