Equestrian & Rural Business Branding

Branding can make a massive difference to a small business, whether it’s connected to equestrian, country and canine, or a different industry.

There’s a whole art to branding and how it makes a customer feel. What does it say about your company? How does it engage? What experience does it give the customer? In this section, you’ll find hints and tips about branding, and some real life case studies too.

The case studies you’ll see connect to a range of businesses, but most will have an equestrian, canine or country link. It’s essential for any budget, and the great thing is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. More than that, there are some exceptional examples around, in our industry, that we can learn from.

In addition to agencies, there are also some exceptional books on this subject, that can help guide you in the right direction and inspire you too.

Fleetwood & Foxgrove Field Scarf – Christmas Giveaway

Fleetwood and foxgrove field scarfDay two of the second week’s giveaway… and I have to say it’s another amazing prize! This is the Fleetwood & Foxgrove Field Scarf. In black with a gorgeous fawn trim.

What’s a Fleetwood & Foxgrove Field Scarf

I first ‘met’ Fleetwood & Foxgrove before my second TEDx talk, which I gave at TEDxTelford. I was working on my outfit and there was one piece of the puzzle missing. A scarf. I wanted something with a little colour due to the rest of my outfit. And that’s how I found them.

Kirsty, the lady behind Fleetwood & Foxgrove, said the Field Scarf would be perfect. And she was right. She even came to TEDx to watch me (and the other speakers, obviously!) which was lovely.

This scarf is available in a range of colours, and it’s made from polyester, meaning it’s really easy to care for, but it is SO soft! It’s finished with a satin bias trim in a fawn colour which as a lovely golden sheen. And to complete the scarf, there’s a little leather tag too, which has the company’s logo.

The scarf that is in the giveaway is big square, measuring 90cm x 90cm. This means that it’s the perfect scarf, but can also double as a shawl if you fold it from corner to corner. Add a brooch and it’ll take you to posh nights out and balls too. Then it’ll help you to stay snug and stylish when you’re stood in a field!

The Fleetwood & Foxgrove Field Scarf will join the Super X Country Timeless Gloves in the bundle, along with products from Tom Lane, Sporting Hares and Apt Cavalier. The video and blog all about Super X Country are already up, and the rest will follow this week. Keep your eyes peeled.

How do you win?

The winner will be picked at random, but you do need to enter, or else you definitely won’t win!

For week two, the Fleetwood & Foxgrove Field Scarf will joining products from Tom Lane, Super X Country, Apt Cavalier and Sporting Hares.

As per the rest of the days, I’ve added a video to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page. This shows the scarf that you could win.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is…

  • Go to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page
  • Find the pinned post at the top of the page
  • Like and comment on the pinned post, and make sure you like my page too
  • Do this all before midnight on Sunday 9th December 2018!

And if you would like to share the competition or the videos then please do – I’d be really grateful.

To enter the competition, you can find my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page here.

Thank you Fleetwood & Foxgrove

A big thank you to Kirsty from Fleetwood & Foxgrove for donating this lovely scarf. It’s the perfect gift for any lady this festive season. And the black would look SO good with smarter outfits too.

In addition to the lovely products made by the company, the packaging is something really special too; always good if you’re buying as a gift! The range has also got pretty impressive British credentials, so if you’d like to support a small business who manufactures in the UK, you might want to check them out! Find out more about Fleetwood & Foxgrove on their website.

Visit my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook Page to enter

Honest Riders’ No Scope Sweatshirt – Christmas Giveaway

And, just like that, we’re at the final product that makes up the first week of my 2018 Christmas Giveaway! If the term ‘last but not least’ was ever more apt, well, I’m not sure when! So, without further ado, here’s the fifth prize in this week’s bundle – Honest Riders’ No Scope Sweatshirt.

Honest Riders SweatshirtWhat’s a Honest Riders’ No Scope Sweatshirt?

Actually, it’s pretty blummin special!

Honest Riders sells a range of lovely slogan sweatshirts, t-shirts and vests, all with fun equestrian themed sayings. This one has ‘No Scope No Hope’ on it, but you might have seen others like the popular ‘Drop It Like It’s Trot’ – which always makes me smile!

In addition to the fun slogans, in a variety of finishes, on beautiful coloured garments, there’s a bit more to Honest Riders than meets the eye. Yes, the quality is exceptional and the products really are lovely, but there’s an ethical element too. The products are all made with the environment in mind and also use organic cotton, are fair wear certified, and sweatshop free. And if that wasn’t enough, a charitable donation is made to different charities when certain slogan garments are purchase, good hey?

There’s also another side to Honest Riders, and that focuses on products for horses. There are LOTS of equine lotions and potions out there, but Honest Riders offer something a bit different. All products selected are cruelty free, use natural ingredients wherever possible, and have been tested by founder Zoe.

Today, I’m adding a ‘No Scope’ sweatshirt to the bundle. It’s called a ‘thoroughbred’ fit and I can confirm it has a closer fit than many sweatshirts but it’s hugely flattering. I think the close fit makes it smarter somehow, so you can style it up quite easily, but also wear it on the yard, when walking the dog, or dashing around after the children. This colour is called mulberry and has white lettering. For each one sold, Honest Riders donates £5 to Pablos Horse Sanctuary. And how can you win one? Well…

The sweatshirt is going into the week one bundle, along with the Horseshoe Hearts & Gifts Horseshoe HookMackenzie & George Personalised Keyring, the Fairfax & Favor Chatham Purse, and the Hiho Silver Fob Bracelet with Equestrian Charms. You can enter the competition to win the whole bundle on my Rhea Freeman Facebook page.

How do you win?

The winner will be picked at random, but you do need to enter, or else you definitely won’t win!

This year’s festive giveaways have been grouped, meaning that five products make up the prize for week one. This stunner joins the Horseshoe Hearts & Gifts Hook, Mackenzie & George Keyring, Hiho Silver Fob Bracelet and the Fairfax & Favor Purse.

As per the rest of the days, I’ve added a video to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page. This shows the sweatshirt that you’ll win, the colour, the fit, and lots more.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is…

  • Go to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page
  • Find the pinned post at the top of the page
  • Like and comment on the pinned post, and make sure you like my page too
  • Do this all before midnight on Sunday 2nd December 2018!

And if you would like to share the competition or the videos then please do – I’d be really grateful.

To enter the competition, you can find my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page here.

Thank you Honest Riders

A massive thank you to Zoe at Honest Riders for giving this sweatshirt to the week one bundle.

Zoe set up Honest Riders just a few months ago and has worked so hard to establish the brand quickly and correctly. The slogans are fun and thoroughly equestrian, but the ‘good’ that’s behind these sweatshirts is great too. From the way the sweatshirts are made to the charitable donation. They look good and do good. A win, win, win then!

If you haven’t ‘met’ Honest Riders yet, do go over to the Honest Riders website and look. I am sure you’ll find some products you need in your life!

A big thank you to Honest Riders. The winner of the week one bundle is going to be thrilled!

Visit my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook Page to enter

Babies and business with Sophie Callahan – Small & Supercharged Podcast

I’m pretty excited to share this podcast with you – but I’ll warn you now, we do use the word ‘baby’ a lot. Not to each other, that would be weird, but we’re talking all about balancing babies with business. Following the fairly recent announcement of her pregnancy, Sophie Callahan was the perfect lady to talk to about these challenges. As I have twin boys myself, I really do understand the issue of being all things to all people without breaking your sanity or yourself! So, in this podcast, I talk about babies and business with the very lovely Sophie Callahan.

Let’s talk about babies and business with equine photographer Sophie Callahan

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 11 – babies and business – plans for dealing with a new addition, changing business models, following your dreams and lots more. With Sophie Callahan.

  • I chat to Sophie about her pregnancy so far, and how she’s juggled a very challenging pregnancy with work – **Sophie’s had a hell of time – all OK now – but if you’re pregnant or you’re sensitive to this kind of thing, just be aware you might want to skip that link**
  • The changes Sophie’s had to make so far and how it’s made her change her views on things she didn’t expect.
  • We talk about how Sophie’s business is changing and why – and how the season has actually helped her.
  • She talks about how she’s reducing the number of equine shoots she’s doing next year, but how the equine photoshoots are also changing.
  • How Sophie was already planning to move and progress with her equine shoots and the direction of her business, but how the baby has accelerated this and given her a push.
  • The move towards all inclusive shoots, where the idea came from, and what this involves for the customer.
  • We talk through the new shoot packages and how these all align with Sophie’s goal of all inclusive equine photoshoots.
  • We chat about ‘maternity leave’ and how that’s going to look for Sophie.
  • Childcare plans moving forward, to allow Sophie to carry on shooting.
  • The importance of support – from both family and friends – and how useful I’ve found it for my business, children and sanity.
  • Advice from Sophie based on the experience she’s had so far (and, spoiler alert – these are great tips for whether you’re planning a baby or not – just good life tips really!!).
  • Why it’s important to remember why you work for your yourself and the importance of seeing this as an opportunity not a restriction on your life.
  • How businesses grow, evolve and develop, and how life changes like a baby can change the course of your business but how that’s not always a bad thing.
  • Fears connected with starting a family and being self employed.
  • The importance of asking for help and accepting help – how it’s not a weakness at all, can be hugely important, and how it makes everything SO much easier.
  • Losing your identity and why, for me, working was a really important way to help prevent that.
  • The importance of flexibility – and the need to really focus on what’s important and not worry too much about the other stuff.

Big thanks to Sophie for being an amazing guest on this podcast. This is something that, when I was pregnant, I would have found really reassuring to hear. When you have a baby or start a family it IS terrifying, I mean, you’re responsible (or will be!) for a human, and there’s a lot that comes with that. I remember when I was pregnant I had so many people telling me that running my business and being a mum would be impossible.

Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t.

For some, being a full time mum suits them down to the ground. To be honest, I find the job of mum a lot harder than the other things I do for work- so huge credit to the stay at home mums – I couldn’t do it. I adore my children but I would really struggle. If you want to run your business alongside having a family, it won’t be easy, but it’s possible if you’ll accept help, prioritise, and make the necessary changes. The beauty is, you can make it what you want. You chose to be self employed to have control over your life, your time and everything else too. No one said it would be easy, did they?!

To keep up with Sophie, you can find her here…

Sophie Callahan Photography

Sophie Callahan Facebook

Sophie Callahan Instagram

Sophie Callahan Blog

Small & Supercharged Podcast Ep 4 – how Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter changed the game

In this episode, we’re talking about Kylie Jenner, augmented reality… and how all this matters to your business! This is a solo show, so we’ll be hanging out for the next few minutes. I hope you enjoy it. So, without further ado… shall we have a chat about Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter, augmented reality… and why I’m very excited about both!

Have a listen here…

 

Let’s talk about Kylie Jenner, augmented reality and why Face Filters could rock your business

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 4 – augmented reality, Face Filters and Kylie Jenner… what you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • What augmented reality is and how you’ve (probably) already used it.
  • How Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter didn’t just make me look a whole lot more polished, it also signalled the start of new applications for this function inside an app.
  • How powerful Instagram really is and how many users it has.
  • How the Face Filter and its application connects to real life sales.
  • How filters could help to bridge the gap between the online and in store shopping experience.
  • How augmented reality could make shopping from home even more realistic and useful than going to a shop.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Small & Supercharged Podcast so you don’t miss an episode! You can find it on iTunes, Spotify and Podcast Player – just search ‘Small & Supercharged Podcast’ or my name. Another perk of having a weird name!!

Small & Supercharged Podcast Ep 3 – Sophie Callahan on commercial photography

In this episode I chat to special guest, equestrian photographer, vlogger, blogger and all round legend, Sophie Callahan. You’ll know I love Sophie from, well, most of my content(!), but on this episode we’re talking about commercial photography. Commercial photography sounds a bit scary, but it isn’t – and more than that, it’s really important for your business. So, over to Sophie… and a huge thanks to her for her help with this episode.

Have a listen here…

Sophie Callahan on commercial photography

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 3 – Sophie Callahan on commercial photography… what you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • The scope of commercial photography, the kind of shots that can be taken and why. Sophie has done a lot of work for country and equestrian brands and she shares some quite eye-watering examples!
  • How to organise a shoot, whether you’re a brand or service provider
  • How to work out which photographer is the best one to suit your needs, what kind of questions to ask and more.
  • Even though it’s a good idea to find a photographer whose style aligns with your business, a photographer will usually adjust their style, if requested, to align with your brand better… but it’s also important to remember why you chose them.
  • You can be as involved (or not!) as you like. Some photographers will source models, locations and everything else – you just send the product. But there are opportunities to be more involved with your commercial shoot too.
  • What to send your prospective photographers to ensure they understand your vision and can do what you need.
  • Why it’s important to be clear about what you want to do with the images after the shoot. Images for social media, like Instagram, will be taken in portrait rather than landscape, for example.
  • Copyright and what you can do with the images you have taken.
  • The importance of communicating with your photographer to establish what you can and can’t do with the images you have taken.
  • How you can cost shoots and possible different options available.
  • How often you should have a shoot for your brand, whether it’s a service or product based business.
  • Why phones are great, but the camera isn’t what you’re paying for!
  • The importance of good photography on social media.
  • The difference good photography can make, even to eBay sales.
  • Combined shoots and how these can keep the cost of photography and commercial photoshoots down.
  • The difference between lifestyle and packshot photography, if there’s a place for both and how to know which to pick.
  • The value of using photographers who are skilled in your niche for lifestyle images – so using an equestrian photographer for your equestrian business, for example.

A HUGE thank you to Sophie Callahan for being an amazing podcast guest and for helping to demystify commercial photography. Sophie is EVERYWHERE on social media – here is where you can find her:

Thanks so much for dropping in. Don’t forget you can subscribe on Spotify, iTunes or Podcast Player, just search ‘Small & Supercharged Podcast’ or my name.

If you’re an Apple fan, you can subscribe here.

Hiho Silver #styleskillsandsilver Instameet at The Fish Hotel, Broadway

The Fish Hotel BroadwayThere are going to be a few blogs about Hiho Silver’s amazing Style, Skills & Silver event, because I’m still buzzing from it. Last Thursday (6th September) was the day of the event we’d been working towards for a while. And I say we because it really was a we. The event was the brainchild of Hiho’s Queen Bee, Emma Warren, but the two workshops that were held were a huge team effort, that I will tell you about in more detail soon. Today, we’re focusing on the beautiful venue – The Fish Hotel, Broadway.

The Fish Hotel, Broadway

Based on the Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel is a real hidden gem. And it is properly hidden too! You clamber up a hill called Fish Hill (and it’s a serious hill with some quite surprising bends!), before taking a left down a long drive. The Estate is massive and contains three amazing venues/hotels – there’s The Fish Hotel, Dormy House and Foxhill Manor. As you turn off the main road, you are taken down an incredibly long drive. It would have been useful if I’d measured the length of the drive but this thought only dawned on me as I started to write the paragraph. The thing is, the length of the drive isn’t the thing you remember. It’s the view. I headed to the venue with Ruth (Dressage Anywhere) and as I’d been there before, I wittered on about the view for most of the drive down the drive. I’ve seen the view before but it was no less impressive second time around. Worcestershire stretches out beneath you and it’s just a sight to behold. I took a picture when I went for a recce, but it doesn’t do it justice. The scale can’t be appreciated in a picture. The entrance is impressive and sets the tone for everything else.

Springfield House

The Fish is made up of a few different areas. The Hook is the restaurant were we had a very nice pizza for dinner the night before, Springfield House is where we held Style, Skills & Silver, we stayed in the Coach House (I think). They also have a number of other buildings in the grounds, including some stunning shepherd huts by Blackdown Shepherd Huts that people can stay in too. It’s clearly a big place, but the careful design of it all means it all feels rather private and lovely. There’s also a lot of greenery – when we walked up from the restaurant the night before (we didn’t stop setting up until gone 9pm so dinner was quite late), it was lovely – tree lined, beautifully lit… heavenly.

Springfield House has quite a different vibe to the restaurant but it’s absolutely lovely too. It manages to strike the mix of modern, cosy, funky, quirky and practical. And that’s quite a combination! We had four rooms in total on two different floors. The first floor was where we held the workshops – the space and the light were lovely and worked so well with the practical workshops. Up a level we had a lovely lounge where we met at the beginning and end of the day, and the room next door where we had lunch and chatted too. The rooms were lovely and having the space over the two floors worked so well with the way the day ran.

Where we stayed

The night before I stayed in the Coach House. I shared a twin room with Ruth and it was the most beautiful room. Lovely fresh white bed linen, Galaxy hot chocolate (yes, I’m very easily bought!), a huge bathroom with lovely toiletries. Everything was beautiful. But like with Springfield House, it was beautiful but very cosy and comfy too. There was a handwritten welcome note, really lovely blankets on the bed, a wooden book with ‘All you need to know’ written on it including all the important things you needed to know, like how the wifi worked. The decor was so pretty, but so comfy. I couldn’t fault it.

Breakfast was included but as I made my way down I got summoned by Sophie and Harriet, who were also staying in the same building, to have a look at their room and give opinions on what to wear. I say summoned. Sophie shouted out the window and I decided I’d rather spend time with them than eating. I felt a little nervous anyway and the last thing I need when feeling a bit nervous is food! Their room was as lovely as ours. It was a slightly different design. It had a little hall and a gorgeous outside terrace space with a glimpse of the stunning view I have spent a lot of this blog wittering on about.

This isn’t a TripAdvisor review – I mean, why be conventional?! But I wanted to explain a bit about the venue as it was really special. It’s not your average hotel, or conference room, or meeting place. It’s way more special than that. I’m looking for an excuse to return as soon as I can!

Find out more about The Fish Hotel here…

To see more about the event, see Karen & Clan and Sophie Callahan’s vlogs.

Behind… Super X Country’s SXC Sports Leggings

Super X Country SXC Sports LeggingsIf you wandered over to Super X Country’s stand at Burghley Horse Trials, you may have seen the company’s new SXC Sports Leggings. I say may, because the stand looked absolutely stunning and was bursting at the seams with beautiful pieces. From sequin hoodies to bespoke cross country colours, new gloves to breeches galore. I took a bit of time to catch up with the lady behind the brand, Becci Harrold, to find out more about the SXC Sports Leggings. And why they’re so special.

Behind Super X Country’s SXC Sports Leggings

Leggings have become so popular, haven’t they? Why do you think that is? It always nice to have different riding pieces to choose from according to your style and the weather. I think the leggings make you
feel less restricted and also make you look more normal in the shops, when you’ve had to nip out!
What makes your SXC Sports Leggings special? I have designed these with affordability in mind. I know what it’s like wanting a new pair of breeches or leggings every few months; who doesn’t want something new! I have always found the problem is the cost! These leggings tick a lot of boxes and come well within most people’s budget at £38.99. They use good, strong, high quality Lycra that is not see through! They feature the all important gel knee, and in keeping with our practical ethos, we opted for two pockets on each side of the leg which, again, fit the biggest of iPhones. They are super easy to access too. I went for piping detail in a contrasting colour, which makes them really flattering from behind. The Lycra sock and top of pocket detail also match. The wide waistband is super strong and supportive, offering great comfort and support.
How did you choose the colour combinations you did? I have found our new colours for this season aqua & turquoise have been so popular in base layers, so with that in mind I wanted to add a touch of colour to
the grey & navy base colours we went for in leggings. Everyone loves matchy matchy too, we even have a hat silk, tops & saddle pads to match them!
What features do the SXC Sports Leggings have that make them must haves? The pockets on either side of the leg are real must haves for me. The gel knee is also a must. For the leggings, being made from Lycra offers extra support too. I love the waistband and the piping details too, anything remotely like them would
cost a hell of a lot more!
Have you been wearing them and testing them too? Yes, I wear and test all my own designs before going to manufacture with them. This ensures I get all the details exactly right. I also have fantastic sponsored
riders who help with this job too!
To find out more about the new SXC Sports Leggings, have a look at the over on Super X Country’s website here.

Getting ready for a photoshoot for your brand

Rhea Freeman - Equestrian PR and marketing - business coachAs you’ll know, I’m lucky enough to work with some amazing photographers in the industry. And I was even luckier when Sophie Callahan gifted me a shoot as a Christmas present. Bless her. The shoot was one of her portrait shoots, but I also wanted to use the opportunity to take some images for my website. Because images are SO important for your brand. Now, I’ll level with you – I was a teeny bit anxious before the shoot, but definitely in a good way. But I thought I’d use my experience and share it with you. So if you’re thinking of having a shoot and you’re on the fence, I can (hopefully!) reassure you. So this first part is all about getting ready for a photoshoot for your brand.

Getting ready for a photoshoot for your brand

Well, the first thing I did was book the date with Sophie… and I’d suggest that is THE place to start! I was lucky in that I could be really flexible on the date… the only real issue for me was the time of year (my horses were involved, both live out, and they don’t look their best in the winter!). We managed to coincide Sophie’s visit with a trip to The Game Fair as it was at Ragley Hall this year, which is only about an hour from me… so that worked.

So, the date was booked… and it snuck up on me a little. The weekend before I had all my clothes sorted… but realised that even though the horses looked good coat wise, they were a bit grubby. I have a skewbald and a piebald. And both have a lot of white. More than I realised. I think you start to realise how much white a horse has when you’re scrubbing away at it! So, the areas of prep… for me at least…

What I was going to wear

For me, I wanted to wear clothes that I was comfortable in, looked good and I loved. I felt quite organised, despite a small pile of ironing. Then it was hotter than the sun, so the tweed gilet (by Rydale- SO gorgeous!) and burgundy tweed jacket (by Really Wild Clothing, that I bought at Badminton and was really excited about wearing), were going to be featured, but not in the central way I expected. Because I was pretty sure I would melt. I also had three shirts (two by Joules, one by Rydale), my newly cleaned Hiho Silver jewellery (thank you Michelle!), my Fairfax & Favor Explorers with plum tassels, two fedoras from Mackenzie & George and a Bora sunhat from Annabel Brocks. Sounds like a lot, but I want to use these for a good while, and I didn’t want to look the same in every image!

The heat concerned me. But I shouldn’t have worried. When Sophie arrived I showed her my pile of clothes and she made sure that we took pictures of everything I wanted but in a way that would ensure I didn’t overheat. So we got everything ready and in position before I put my gilet, jacket or fedora on, for example. And actually, I didn’t feel that much warmer for wearing them because everything was slick. Complete credit to Sophie here… I wouldn’t have just sweated and got stressed.

What about the horses?

Well, after my realisation that the horses needed *some* work, I set to work on Monday afternoon and gave them both a good scrub… and they looked much better for it. I did manes and tails and legs, and trimmed what was needed. I had left myself rhea freeman equestrian business coachThursday morning to rewash them, but was pleased to get the bulk of it done. Of course, horses being horses, they needed a fair bit of rewashing on the Thursday morning too. And a bucketload of mane and tail conditioner, but that’s life.

Now, although I am pleased that I washed them twice and did all this (although I’m pretty sure they were both convinced they were being sold!), I was cross that I couldn’t make them really shine. They live out 24/7. And you know what horses are like. You nearly kill yourself washing them and then they roll. When Sophie arrived I apologised profusely for the state of them, and she wasn’t even remotely concerned. She (quite rightly) pointed out you couldn’t even see the grubby bits I was stressing out about. Argh!

And the location for the shoot?

I’d always planned to do the shoot in the field, but as for exactly where, I didn’t really think about it. I knew there was plenty of space, but I also knew that Sophie would know what would work the best and understand light and shadows and all the things that I don’t really get and make all the difference. And I was right. Sophie had a little look when she came and got two or three ‘locations’ in the field earmarked.

Are we talking about a shoot for a brand or a portrait shoot?

In my case, it was both… actually, we also did a commercial shoot for a client of mine too as the location worked and we had the right ‘resources’ (Ok, my children!!) to make it work. I’m going to go into this in much more detail, but it was an absolute breeze and so much fun. Sophie’s good with horses, we know this, but she’s also very good with children and people, so it worked incredibly well. But more about that soon.

For me, I wanted pictures of the horses with me, pictures of the horses without me, and some ‘headshot’ ones of me, because I’m being asked for more and more of these and keep recycling one from a while ago! I’m planning to use all of these on my social media and in my content.

But isn’t preparation key to a good shoot?

Yes, yes it is… but you don’t need to stress yourself out over it. Sophie is very, very laid back and is there to help. She’ll help you put outfits together, help you with your horses when you get changed in the middle of a field (!), listens to what you want and also gives ideas to make it as successful as possible for you. And more than this, she knows what is editable and what isn’t. As the shoot progressed, I was getting hotter and hotter and was worried I’d be way too red (it was the hottest day of the year I think…), but Sophie assured me it would be fine. And she was right. I’ve seen all the pics now – the image on this blog is one – and I have to say I’m delighted.

As I may have said, Sophie very kindly gifted me this shoot for Christmas, but I have already booked next year’s shoot (not an actual date!), so if that doesn’t reassure you about how much I loved it, nothing will. For someone who doesn’t like having their picture taken, this is quite a bit deal!

To find out more about Sophie’s photography skills and what she can do for you and your business, have a look at her website (just click here!)

 

Behind… Super X Country’s new SXC Summer Breeches

Super X Country - SXC Summer BreechesI’m delighted to be able to share you a bit of what goes on behind the scenes in this blog. Today, we’re focusing in on Super X Country’s new SXC Summer Breeches. I have the absolute honour of working with Becci Harrold, the brains behind Super X Country, and continue to be blown away by what she creates. Not only this, the testing, her commitment to her customers and to what she does is second to none… and she’s a thoroughly good egg too! So, over to Becci to find out more about Super X Country’s new SXC Summer Breeches…

Behind Super X Country’s SXC Summer Breeches

You must be super excited to get your SXC Summer Breeches out – what makes them so special?
YES! The wait has been painful for me, but I am delighted now that they are here! I had so much fun designing the Gel-Tech knee, which is unique to us. It was a long process but I think the end result looks fantastic, especially with the other contrasting grey details.
Tell us about the knee patches – they look great, but they’re clearly clever too?
They took a long time to get right, but I am really pleased with how the knee grip has come out. The design is unique to us, and features our logo within the print. It’s subtle but does the job that is needed, which is what I wanted.
I love the grey stitch detail – what made you go for grey rather than a brighter/matching colour?
Grey is my favourite colour at the moment! I like something that looks classy and adds detail which stands out, but isn’t in your face! Especially when used for competing.
Can you talk us through some the features of the SXC Summer Breeches – the wide waistband, pocket, and the bottom of the breeches, for example?
I always love a good wide waistband. I hate to see and feel like I am popping out of my breeches! The 3″ waistband offers the perfect support to this problem! The pockets I have designed to be deep enough to hold the biggest iPhone. It makes them more practical when riding and walking the courses, as the phone can sit further down your leg, not in the annoying place on your waist! The Lycra sock at the bottom of the breeches is great. I wanted it to complement and bring out the other grey details, whilst offering close contact fitting under your boot.
What kind of testing have the SXC Summer Breeches had?
I have had these breeches now since November last year (2017) and have been testing and making changes to make sure they were exactly what I wanted. I am looking forward to
bringing out new colours now I am happy with the design.
They’re made from a lightweight fabric, so great for summer, but could you wear them in the winter too? Maybe with another layer underneath?
I designed these with summer in mind. Nothing is stopping you wearing them if it’s a mild winter! But I will be bringing out autumn/winter versions to cover all angles. These were focused on the summer market. They are the only breeches I haven’t got hot and sweaty in competing in this heat, which is saying something!
To find out more about Super X Country and the SXC Summer Breeches, just pop in over to Super X Country’s website, or follow them on social media through any of the links below…

What I wore for my photoshoot

What I wore for my photoshoot - Sophie CallahanI’m really, really excited to be able to share the pictures from my photoshoot with Sophie Callahan. You’ll see these on my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blog, website… OK, everywhere. I want to give you a bit more information about what I wore for my photoshoot. Because I do get quite a few questions about where I get things from (which is lovely). I also really, really adore the things that I wore for the shoot and wanted to share them with you…

What I wore for my photoshoot…

Jewellery

Yep, it’s mostly Hiho Silver… so I wore…

Exclusive Double Chained Cherry Roller Necklace with sterling silver and 18ct rose gold plated beads – I’ve had this for a little while and adore it. I wear it all day, every day, and feel naked without it.

Snaffle Ring – my husband bought me this about five years and it still looks as good as new. As per my necklace, I wear it all the time.

Exclusive Cherry Roller Bangle with two solid rose gold rollers and three CZ purple ones – this has been tweaked and adjusted a few times! This started off as the classic two tone version… and then the sparkly beads came out and I loved them, so I sent it back to Hiho and swapped one bead for one. Well, long story short, that’s happened a couple of times now. I still love the original, but this is really special as I designed it. Well, with a bit of help from Michelle. I should say, this is an option for everyone, not just me, you can just decide to customise your cherry roller and pick all the beads when you buy… or you can swap beads as and when by sending it back to Hiho or getting it adjusted on the show stand.

Exclusive Fox Roller Bangle with 18ct rose gold plated fox – I was given this as a gift – isn’t it cute? I don’t wear this all the time, only for special occasions, but when it’s not on my wrist, I hang it on the top of a kitchen cupboard handle so I can admire it when I’m in there!

Exclusive Sterling Silver Foxtail Bracelet with three beads (Badminton 2018 and 2017 and CZ red bead) – I always loop this through my cherry roller- no idea why! The beads are a work in progress as I just keep adding to my collection as Hiho brings out new ones I love. That’s the great thing about the Foxtail.

Springy Bangle in sterling silver – another bangle I have had for ages and wear each day. I think I’ve had it for four years now? Maybe? A long time anyway!!

(I should add that Michelle at Hiho very, very (very) kindly cleaned these for me pre-shoot… that’s why they look so shiny!)

My wedding and engagement ring – these are white gold and the engagement ring has three diamonds, two of which were from a ring belonging to my late grandmother.

Diamond earrings – I always wear these – they were my grandmother’s too

Hats

What i wore for my equestrian photoshoot I wore two different hats for the shoot…

Annabel Brocks’ Bora Hat – this is superb. It arrived on the morning of the shoot and it’s so clever. It’s adjustable thanks to the adjustable elastic band inside, and it has a SPF of 50. Having got sunstroke a few weeks ago, I’m now a bit obsessed with hats. I mentioned my sunstroke to Belle when we were chatting and she very, very kindly offered to send me one of hers. It’s so lovely. I’ve bought one in blue and cream for my mother in law since!

Mackenzie & George Fedora and Feather Brooch. I love this combo so much. I had the brown hat and pin picked out as the tan coloured band coordinated with the colour of my boots. I do also have a lovely navy version, but the brown went better with this. The hat feather moves between the two as needed… although I have got my eye on a peacock feather one for my navy one too!

Shirts

I picked three shirts to wear. All were quite loose and floaty because it was SO hot I just couldn’t bear anything tight to be honest with you. I also really love these shirts – I’ve had all for a little while…

Rydale Willow Shirt – I’ve had this for a while and bought it in the sale, it was a complete bargain. I have the navy spot version and love the fit. It is so easy to iron, goes with everything and is a lovely length. There’s a pale blue daisy version too which is rather lovely.

Joules Dog Walker Shirt – I bought this for my TEDx talk and haven’t worn it much since, but really do like it a lot. It’s cream with a dog walker print on it, nice neckline and it’s a light and floaty material that is really cool.

Joules Pheasant Shirt – this is a classic… I think everyone has one of these, don’t they?

Jacket

Really Wild Clothing – I bought this at Badminton Horse Trials in the sale (I know- I do love a sale!) and fell in love with it. I mean THAT COLOUR! I also thought the length was really flattering and would work well with jeans, skirts and trousers.

Waistcoat

Rydale Bramham II Gilet – I was very kindly gifted this by Rydale. It combines tweed with suede-like fabric on the top of the shoulders, around the collar and down the fastening too. It’s really lovely. It has a closer fit than I would usually buy (and I ordered the size I usually am!), but I tend to order everything in a bigger size because I don’t like things that cling. However, this gilet fits really nicely and for a tweed gilet it is super flattering too. I was planning to wear it to The Game Fair, but due to the heat wave, I left it at home. There are a number of colours available.. and it’s an absolute bargain. This one is £45 and is made in the UK. They have great deals on in the sale too.

Boots

Fairfax & Favor Explorers – I wear these every day, whatever the weather, so I was always going to wear these for my shoot… although I did think I’d wear my Reginas too for a bit. In the end, I decided that when trying to hang on to two horses in a dusty field, good grip was a must… and I just felt the smooth leather, rather than a suede, would be better with all the dust. I switched the self coloured tassels for the burgundy suede, because, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I do like burgundy!

Jeans

Well… these weren’t actually proper jeans, they were jean leggings and were about £8 from Matalan.

And the horses…

They both wore their bridles. Marilyn (the piebald) has a Kate Negus bridle with padded headpiece and diamante browband. Gu (the skewbald) has a Kieffer bridle with a pair of Kate Negus X-Suregrip reins.

So that’s what I wore for my shoot… and what the horses did too… 

If you do want to see more of Sophie Callahan’s amazing work, have a look at Sophie’s website.