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.

Sponsored riders, managing riders, and how it can help equestrian businesses - with Pippa Hawksfield & Jess Crofts from Stride Management

In this week’s podcast I speak to Pippa Hawksfield and Jess Crofts from Stride Management. This business was set up by two best friends to address the issue of rider management, sponsored riders, and how brands can work with both more effectively. This is a subject I’m really passionate about. I work with a number of brands and many of these work with riders. I’ve seen amazing relationships with riders that have really blossomed into exciting things. And I’ve seen ones that have generated nothing. But that’s enough from me, over to the ladies at Stride Management to share their tips and thoughts. It’s a good one.

Sponsored riders, managing riders, and how it can help equestrian businesses

Here are the show notes from the Small & Supercharged Podcast- Episode 19, all about sponsored riders, managing riders and how this can help equestrian businesses. We also have a delve into Stride Management and how the business works, the support it offers, and why it started life.

  • How the idea for Stride Management developed from conversations with brands saying they really struggled with riders, and seeing how some riders go above and beyond.
  • Why some riders don’t approach brands, even if they could do a really good job for them.
  • The disconnect between some riders who are very skilled at what they do (and very nice people too!), and delivering to brands who they want support from.
  • How some brands expect riders to do things for them with no information. As all brands are different, we speak about the value of two way communication.
  • The importance of coming up with ideas for brands.
  • Why it’s important for riders to speak to brands they really do like, not just from the brand’s point of view, but also from the rider’s personal brand point of view too.
  • We talk about good approaches and not so good ones… and the difference between the two.
  • What Stride Management do day to day for the riders they manage.
  • How brands can also work with rider management companies to get the most out of them too.
  • The difference between supporting the riders and brands, and being the gatekeeper.
  • How working with management companies can be good for riders, to help them serve current sponsors better, get new sponsors, and ease the workload too.
  • The importance of really good, strong imagery and how that’s something to consider.
  • For riders – we talk about top tips, such as what to do if a rider likes a brand and how that ‘journey’ should progress, and why riders shouldn’t give up too easily – a no might not be a no forever, it might just be a no for now. We run through a good few additional top tips too.
  • For brands – we talk about when you’re looking at riders, thinking about the support team around them and how they’re going to deliver on what they promise to you. We talk about engagement as well as following on social media, and a few other top tips too.
  • We discuss the value of people with engaged followings on social media, rather than riders who compete at the top of their game.
  • And we talk about brand ambassadors, sponsored riders, financial gain and products being gifted too.

To find out more about Stride Management, find them here…

Stride Management Website

Stride Management Instagram

Stride Management Facebook

And for a little further reading…

If you fancy a little further reading about this subject, I have written a few blogs around the subject here…

Should you sponsor someone?

What should you look for in a brand ambassador?

Can you be an ambassador for too many brands?

branding and new business from kirsty fleetwood from fleetwood and foxgrove.

Today we’re talking about one of my loves- branding. I love it. Who doesn’t?! So when I met Kirsty from Fleetwood & Foxgrove at TEDxTelford and we had a chat about her business and branding, I knew I had to get her on the podcast to talk about branding her new business! This is a really interesting podcast, talking about what branding really is, how it’s more than logo deep, picking colours and fonts, and a lot more.

Branding for small businesses with Kirsty Fleetwood

Have you ever wondered about branding? Feel a bit lost when it comes to your own brand identity? Or are you at the beginning of your journey and not sure where to go? Well today’s podcast is perfect. In this podcast all about branding for small businesses with Kirsty Fleetwood from Fleetwood & Foxgrove, we talk about it all. Here are the show notes for episode 17…

  • We find out about about Kirsty’s background, why she decided to develop a scarf brand, what she does for her ‘day job’.
  • How she developed the name for the brand and also how the colours, logo and branding developed.
  • We talk about Kirsty’s connection to branding and how her husband has a graphic design business, so that made the process easier.
  • How being British is a really important piece of the Fleetwood & Foxgrove brand.
  • The importance of finding likeminded brands that support your brand and ethos to work with.
  • How branding on paper and online translates over to show stands and customer experience.
  • Why it’s important to have brand guidelines, whether it’s a list of 10 points or a whole book, and how these should carry through into your stand, your packaging, and everything else.
  • The idea behind making the tradestand a reflection of the family home. With the name, colours, and even the designs, there’s a really strong connection to Kirsty’s family.
  • Why great packaging matters, and how each Fleetwood & Foxgrove parcel is wrapped like a present. We also talked about how you can reuse some elements of packaging too.
  • We talk about social media and the way branding and brand guidelines filter over into this, particularly Instagram.
  • We talk about being able to preview your Instagram content (using things like Later) to help make sure your grid shares the feel you want to it.
  • We talk about the Field and Silk range and the differences.
  • The designs of the silk scarves and the development process involved in this from Kirsty’s point of view.
  • How the design of the silks differs to the Field range, but how the smaller points are also consider, like how a leather tab works really well with the Field range, but wouldn’t work with a silk.
  • The minor details that can really elevate a brand, like talking in third or first person. This doesn’t matter, but making sure you’re consistent does.
  • Why repetition really matters to help emphasis the brand and ethos at each opportunity.
  • How a big brand document might work really well for a corporate business, but how, for a start up, it doesn’t have to be.
  • Why it’s important to do your best to get everything as you’d like, but sometimes you won’t be able to get the exact colour matching on something like this, and how this shouldn’t hold you up.
  • The importance of analytics and how to use these in a range of different ways.

A big thank you to Kirsty for chatting to me on today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast – here are all the links to find out more…

Fleetwood & Foxgrove website

Fleetwood & Foxgrove on Instagram

Fleetwood & Foxgrove on Facebook

I get asked about brand ambassadorships so much, so it seemed like a great subject for a podcast. The thing is, brand ambassadors can get a hard time… and sometimes quite rightly. I’ve worked with a number of people who take their role really seriously and do an amazing job, and others who don’t. Working with someone, even ‘just’ on a brand ambassador level costs the company money. Money that could be spent elsewhere. So it’s really important to make sure that you as a business invest your budget in the right way. Equally, from an ambassador point of view, you want to make sure you’re connected to the right brands, or else your personal brand takes and beating… and you lose that reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.

So, in this episode, I’m going to talk about this subject from two sides. From the brands seeking to work with the right people, to influencers looking to work with the right brands. Yes, brands, you need to pick carefully, but in a time where personal brands have never been stronger, influencers need to be really picky too!

Let’s talk about brand ambassadors – how to pick the right ones for your brand… and how to decide, as an influencer, which brands you want to be an ambassador for.

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 16 – Brand ambassadors 101 with me, Rhea Freeman. In this episode we talk about brand ambassadorships from both sides of the coin. Whether you’re a brand looking for the right people to work with, or an influencer who is looking to work with more brands, this episode for you. In this episode you’ll hear…

  • What a brand ambassador is, how it came to be a term… and how social media, in my mind, is a key part.
  • Why brand ambassadors don’t need to be high performing athletes as per sponsored riders or sponsored sportspeople (depending on your industry!), but how they can be ‘normal’ people who are excelling on social media.
  • How sponsorship and brand ambassadorship differs, and how sponsorship used to work before the rise of ambassadors.
  • That you don’t have to work with sponsored riders or ambassadors… and why I believe this.
  • Why the numbers aren’t everything – how engagement matters. Whether you’re a brand looking for influencers, or you’re an influencer trying to appeal to key brands.
  • How as an influencer you can be really valuable to a brand, even if you have a modest following.
  • Why it’s important to be genuine and honest with your following if you’re being paid, have products gifted, or something else.
  • How using hashtags like #ad and #gifted aren’t a negative if you’re assessing an influencer. However, if the post doesn’t fit the feed and they’ve just done it for the money, then it is.
  • Why you need to look at the person as well as the following… are they the kind of person your target market can relate to? Or are their worlds miles apart?
  • We go through a mini ambassador checklist and things to look for and assess over time before making an approach.
  • We talk about how to start small and test the water with potential ambassadors. And how you can get the most out of the influencers you do decide to work with (and how you should allow them to create the best content for their audience). And how this will help you in the long run.
  • The importance of a potential ambassador having a genuine affinity to the brand. You want to know them and see that they really do love the brand.
  • From an brand ambassador’s point of view, we talk about why it’s important to find a good fit for YOU. You don’t need to appeal to everyone.
  • Why it’s important to respect you audience at all times. As in influencer, you have a personal brand, and your following have invested their time and energy in you. You need to respect that.
  • The importance of sitting back and learning about brands before you agree to be an ambassador.
  • Why saying yes to one things means you’re saying no to something else, so make sure you say yes to the right things.
  • The importance of gut feeling. You might not be able to explain it but if you have that niggle, watch a bit longer. You’re in no rush.

And that’s this episode. I hope you enjoyed it!


Rhea Freeman Newsletter Link

If you liked this podcast, you might like these blogs too:

When you should say yes to being a brand ambassador

What you should look for in a brand ambassador?

Could you be a brand ambassador?

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

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

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

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!!

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.

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.

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.