Badminton and Burghley

Updated: Mar 15, 2019


Ben Hobday and Harelaw Wizard aka Wiz Kid

For the past two years I have been lucky enough to join my best friend and equine/country lifestyle photographer/blogger/vlogger, Sophie Callahan, at both Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, as guests of the events themselves and jewellers Hiho Silver, who Sophie is a brand ambassador for.


Soph has invited me to go with her as an assistant as at each event she has been given various tasks, from talking on Badminton Radio during the first horse inspection, to interviewing Ben Hobday for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (LRBHT) website. Last year at Burghley I was asked to do an Instagram takeover for the Hiho Silver account. Now, I know I’ve featured on a fair few of Sophie’s vlogs over the years, but I’m not very confident talking to the camera, so to say I was nervous would be an understatement. Luckily, I had a total pro with me every step of the way, so I hope (!!) I did a good job.

Ben Hobday and Wiz Kid ready for the First Horse Inspection at LRBHT 2018

Hiho’s ‘King of the Road’ Andrew also gave me the task of looking after the prizes for the riders who were judged as the ‘Best Dressed’ at the first horse inspection, as Hiho sponsor the competition. I think that certainly helped to distract me from the Instagram takeover nerves, all I could think about was “DO NOT LOSE THESE TWO BOXES!” all morning. Hiho’s Queen Bee Emma is on of the loveliest people on the planet, but I would not have fancied telling her I had lost two pieces of beautiful, expensive jewellery!

Before the first horse inspection, Soph and I were taken to the stables, so she could interview Ben Hobday for the LRBHT website. Luckily, we were given a Range Rover to take us as not only am I still carrying a few injuries, Soph had recently found out she was pregnant (but hadn’t announced it yet) so she was exhausted. As expected Ben and Wiz Kid were lovely and absolutely hilarious.


Horse trotting up for inspection team

After this we headed back to the main arena for the trot up. I am so unbelievably grateful to Sophie, Hiho Silver and both Badminton and Burghley for allowing me to attend these events. For the past two years I have been at the first horse inspection at each competition, and every time I am still baffled at how I managed to get there. Our first Badminton amazed me, there we were, on the house side at the trot up of one of the most important competitions in the international eventing calendar, faced with hundreds of people waiting to watch the action. Everyone was so welcoming and made us feel right at home – including the wonderful Mary King, who Soph totally fangirled over, much to my delight! Childhood heroes and all that…

Mary King - Soph's childhood hero!

To be given access to watch these incredible athletes up close, where only a few people are actually allowed, is such a privilege. With my background in showing I have spent many hours (lets be honest, it’s probably in the hundreds now) watching horses trot up and I firmly believe this has helped me immensely with my career as an Equine Therapist, and with my Veterinary Physiotherapy studies. It’s not every day you’re allowed to watch the top event horses in the world trot up, and each time I try to take in as much as possible.

At Burghley in 2018 I picked up on each horse that was required to re-present, which I think Soph and the Hiho guys were quite impressed with. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was pleased as it’s obviously not good news for the horses and their connections, but it was good to know I can trust my judgement. I *think* I may have started to bore poor Soph by naming muscles you could see clearly though...


This year we won’t be attending Badminton in this capacity as Soph is due to give birth in the next few weeks, but I will be sure to keep an eye on the livestream! Again, I would just like to say a huge thank you to Hiho Silver, Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials for allowing me the opportunity to play a minor part in such fabulous events. Finally, an enormous thank you to Sophie, without whom none of these experiences would be possible, as well as that, she is such a great support and always on hand to give advice - and allow me to use her wonderful photos!



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Natalie Bell BSc EEBW- Equine Sports Therapist

© 2018

All professional photos by private permission of Sophie Callahan©. Not to be replicated.