When I was asked back in February if I’d be the Hiho Silver photographer for a number of projects for this year’s Badminton Horse Trials I was a little bit floored, but it really didn’t take me very long to snap off the arm of Emma Warren (Hiho’s “Queen Bee”) and we soon started scribbling and planning together.
Hiho had been rightfully named earlier this year as the Official Badminton Jeweller and I was soon put to work shooting their exclusive new collection (it’s utterly fabulous – have you seen it?! You’ll find it here) but that was just the start of things for me with Badminton this year. It was about to get very exciting!
The first of the main focuses was the initial horse inspection on the Wednesday. This is possibly the most important moment for each of the 4* horses entered; if they fail the vet inspection then they are out of the competition before it starts. Over recent years the ‘Trot Up’ has become a real crowd pleaser and the riders go all out to look as stylish and fabulous as they can. For the second year running Hiho sponsored the ‘Best Dressed’ aspect to the inspection and this year a full judging panel was in place. Alongside Hiho’s ‘King of the Road’ Andrew Ransford, on the panel was Hiho Brand Ambassador Alice Fox-Pitt together with socialite and columnist Lady Alice Manners.
The afternoon was glorious and a very welcome sight after the deluge of rain over the previous few days… certainly felt like the sun was shining on the righteous once the main event actually kicked off.
Mud, what mud?!?
The imposing and truly iconic Badminton House was, as ever, the backdrop for the occasion. With Andrew, Alice and Lady Alice in place ready to judge I moved off to find a few spots for my action shots in amongst the owners and dignitaries. The four of us were all house side of the action and thankfully I’d had the sun at my back for it whilst the media photographers at the end of the trot up lane were having to deal with some very bright and head on sunshine. The crowds opposite had the perfect view of each horse, the handlers, the vet panel and the house. You can completely understand why this is an event in it’s own right…
Last year’s theme from Hiho was ‘all about the detail’. This year they were looking for ‘A touch of flair’. They wanted to see something that showed a little more than we might normally see on the Trot Up. A bit of pizzazz really… Boy, we were in for a treat! Now I’m no stylist at all and I’ll confess that there are times where I struggle to instantly recognise some of the more chic clothing and accessory brands, but thankfully my role was to catch the story of the judging and, naturally, the action as it swept past me.
Right from the off with Caroline Powell you could see that there wasn’t going to be a shortage of flair. The judges had a real job on their hands!!!
I flitted back and forth between judges and horses and had the most wonderful experience. I had lots of lovely chats with nervous owners and listened to their worries for the days ahead. The sighs of relief as those immortal words ‘has passed’ were uttered were enormous at times… Some incredible outfits went past me, all the colours of the rainbow (sometimes together thanks to Tapperz!) being on show and mens’ trousers were particularly commented on by those around me. Certainly Harry Meade had no intention of being missed… The horses rose to the occasion too and presented themselves very well really. We just had one to the holding box and one who wanted to box thin air. A few were so full of beans their handlers really struggled to hold them but were still smiling or laughing at how things were going.
Those 90 minutes passed in a blur really and before I knew it the last horse had gone by, declared fit to start and suddenly the presentation for Best Dressed was happening with Andrew and his fellow judges.
Men’s winner was Giovanni Ugolotti from Italy, looking particularly dashing in his military uniform. His prize from Hiho was their latest Cherry Roller Cufflinks, which you can purchase here Cherry Roller Cufflinks and have been much admired on the stand all week.
Ladies’ winner was Louise Harwood who wore a very fetching blue trouser suit with lots of red touches to create that flair Hiho were seeking this year. Louise, won the gorgeous and extremely popular Cherry Roller Bangle. An example of which you can see here Hiho Cherry Roller Bangle
Enormous thanks to the whole Hiho team who made this event happen and be such a delight to be a part of. If you haven’t seen their 2018 Badminton Collection then here’s the link once more Badminton Collection. My own Foxtail bracelet now sports the Badminton Roller Bead – well, you can’t be part of such a huge global event and not take away something sparkly, now can you….
Have a fabulous day!