Social Scene – the B&W Guide to Autumn Events

It looks like we will be dusting off our posh frocks for more than one occasion in the next two months. The end of the year sees 3 great events, across the country, which not only look set to be great nights out but also are also fundraising for some top equestrian linked charities.

On Saturday 22nd October 2016, E-Dressage Ltd will be hosting their Annual Autumn Ball and Awards Evening. With a seriously special night lined up, with plenty to keep all of their 350 lovely guests entertained into the early hours. Not only a great night out but also raising money for Redwings Horse Sanctuary throughout the event. Paralympic Gold and Silver Medal winning Grand Prix Dressage Rider Simon Laurens will be attending the Ball and Awards Evening (where Black and White Eventing have been shortlisted as finalists in the Blog and Social Media categories!)

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Simon Lurens is an absolute inspiration to anybody; dressage enthusiast or otherwise. He will be on stage, chat-show-style, to talk to the guests, sharing a little of his jaw-dropping and emotional story and answering questions in typical blasé and humorous fashion.

Closing Date for Tickets: 30th September 2016 – so you need to get a wriggle on!

Event Date: Saturday 22nd October Time: 6.00pm-11.30pm, Black Tie

Location: Carden Park, Broxton Road, Nr Chester, Cheshire, CH3 9DQ

Tickets are available here

Starting November with a bang is The Willberry Ball, at Quendon Hall, Essex, on the on 11th November

wwp.pngRaising funds for a very popular charity, close to my heart, Willberry Wonder Pony. I will be attending with a group of friends and we are set to dance the night away! Tickets cover entry, a welcome drink, a 3 course meal and tea or coffee. Drinks will be available at the open bar. There will be a live auction and entertainment. Tickets for this amazingly popular event have already sold out, however there will be an auction so those not attending can participate and bid on lots beforehand – keep an eye out on the Ball’s Facebook page for details – there are some amazing lots to bid for!

On the 29th November The Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund are delighted to announce that top international eventer William Foxx-Pitt will be joining special guests Olympic Gold Medallist Nick Skelton and MBE and eventer Zara Tindall at the ‘Quintessentially and Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund Evening with the Stars’. The event to be held at an exclusive venue in London on 29th November will raise funds for this unique equestrian charity and will be hosted by top equestrian TV presenter & commentator Steven Wilde.

Guests will enjoy an evening of entertainment and fine dining at this exclusive and prestigious venue.

Tickets: £100 or table of 10: £950.00

Numbers are strictly limited, for further information: www.mdirf.co.uk

 

It’s the little things… one pair of shoes and a whole lot of lifestyle

With Burghley well and truly done and dusted, the touring spectacle that is Eventing has moved onto Blenheim. Despite the awful weather on Saturday, Burghley was a great success, with the publication that I developed, with uptown E Store, ‘A little Book of Burghley Style’ receiving some great reviews from readers and the brands that were involved. If you have yet to read it, I’ve embedded a copy at the end of this blog.

A featured brand was Fairfax and Favor, who I’ve been working with since their early days. It has been wonderful to see Marcus and Felix develop their product and brand identity. From small stands at their local event Burnham Market, to showstoppers at major internationals and the likes of The Game Fair. Knowing how hard it is to work these events, keep stock levels up to scratch as well as running the business itself, their shows schedule is beyond impressive. The team will have earnt a well-earned break after Olympia in December!

I’m sure many of you are familiar with their famed tassled ‘Regina’ boots, always seen at trot ups and a country girl’s staple footwear. As I said in the Burghley magazine,

‘It’s definitely not a case of what riders will be wearing Fairfax boots at the horse inspections… but who won’t be!’

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Fairfax and Favor have now established themselves within the eventing and country markets, with some exciting news about brand ambassadors on the way, so keep an eye out for that. Their social media channels are on point with huge followings and almost cult status amongst their customers, who are now not just the country set, but city dwellers wanting classic shoes, that are stylish, classy and comfortable. With the business rocking, and my marketing head on, I set about thinking what makes customers ‘come back for more’ and what makes new customers want to purchase their own little bit of Fairfax and Favor.

So what was my conclusion? Well, in my opinion it’s all about the detail. At Burghley I purchased a new pair of driving shoes, the new style Henley’s. You can read about them here

They are a slightly different shoe from the classic Drivers launched last year (I’ve lived in mine and they are part of my everyday wardrobe on the farm and in meetings… and obviously for driving!). The Henley’s are more refined ‘smarter’ style, with plaited leather detailing, the classic drivers grip sole which makes you feel like you are walking on air, stippled rubber across the outside of the heel which means the shoes aren’t worn away or damaged when you drive. I’d say a smarter, more ladylike version of the driver. There are also little details like the metal ends on the ties and a really smart Farifax and Favor shield stud on the heal. Subtle branding that suits the shoe. Speaking to Felix Favor Parker at Burghley he positively gushed about this new detail, telling me of the trials of finding a manufacturer to get the logo ‘just right’. It’s this attention to detail and careful consideration that really makes a difference and keeps customers coming back. With a few new designs launched every year – from bags, to purses and new boot designs, the brand keeps a fresh identity, but still is very much Fairfax and Favor.

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One of the biggest treats (for a packaging geek like me) is receiving a delivery. This is where the brand gets things ‘just right’. Open the shoe box – it slides open like a draw and you want to keep it just for that… and you see two beautiful navy dust bags with gold embossed logos. I’m maybe a little OCD but I’m a sucker for dust bags. Why not look after your treasures well? Next is a lovely navy branded envelope containing a beautifully printed catalogue – because you will be thinking of your next purchase already right? A lovely hand written note hoping my shoes will fit perfectly – a lovely touch! Then two A5 ivory, gold embossed cards, one inviting you to the list of events that FF will be attending, and to stop by for a drink or two – well who wouldn’t? And another inviting FF fans to tag the brand their Instagram images, with a customer every month winning a £250 in store credit voucher for the ‘best Fairfax & Favor photo’. Simple marketing, stylishly executed and totally fitting with the brand.

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It’s this quality detail, working with a great manufacturer to keep stock levels up to scratch and the quality high that makes the Fairfax ad Favor work. Using all the best bits of tech, in a classic way to keep the brand faithful happy. Add to this excellent customer experiences on-stand or online, plus the ability to have your order arriving the next day. It is true to say that Fairfax and Favor are here to stay and with marketing and an attention to detail they deserve all the recognition they have received.

To find out more visit: www.fairfaxandfavor.com

 

 

More great news – Im a finalist in the ESMA’s

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On Monday I found out that I have been lucky enough to be nominated as a finalist in the 2014 Equestrian Social Media Awards. The ESMA team received 17,131 nominations from 5,109 individuals. Then had the tremendously difficult task of selecting 10-11 finalists in each category from over 395 entrants. So it’s a real honour to be up there with some of the amazing bloggers, Tweeters and Facebookers and social media experts that share the finalists roll call.

There are a range of categories to vote for and I’m in category 5, best use of social media by an amateur rider including the this  blog on https://bandweventing.wordpress.com/ Twitter accounts @The_Flying_Cow , @bandw_eventing and Wanda’s own Facebook page… Wanda the Flying Cow pony

If you have time to vote for me, or any of the other really cool individuals and brands that would be great. I’m pleased to say #TwitterEventing which I help to admin is also represented in category 15.

Voting is simple… follow the link and tick the boxes. Many thanks and hope you enjoy my blogging as much as I enjoy sharing my adventures with you. It’s the chat, random conversations, encouragement and shared interest that make equine social media so special and such a really enjoyable way to meet new friends and keep up with old ones.

http://www.equestriansocialmediaawards.com/finalists-esma

A bit of pre baby reflection…

I was messaging a friend today about horses and her pregnancy and talking about my life pre babies and horses. I evented and show jumped on a string of horses until I was packed off to university at 21. I then had a massive break of 16 years before returning back to riding when my second son was 4mths old.

So today’s chat over Facebook made me think about my return to riding, three and a half years ago.

Before I had Henry, who is just 6, I really struggled with pregnancy. I lost 5 babies over a relatively short period of time and then had a difficult pregnancy with him. He was born a healthy baby but I really found it hard being a first time mum. It was difficult to adapt to having no career and after longing for a baby for so long I found the reality quite a shock. Add to this awful post natal depression and I was really in a bit of a mess.

My second son, Piers, followed quite soon after. A straight forward pregnancy and easy birth but again the depression returned. I piled on weight and felt pretty miserable. Although I had two lovely kids it was really hard for me to adapt to not working in a busy teaching job.  Four months after Piers was born my Mum suggested that we went looking for a horse to get me back into riding. My marriage was starting to fail and I think she was desperate to try anything just to get the old me back. We already had some kid’s ponies on the farm for my kids and their cousins. So we set about looking for a nice ‘mums hack’ and ended up buying a former field masters horse who had also team chased and evented a bit.

With the help of Val Gingell my trainer we set about trying to get me fit, core muscles back and confidence built. Clio was a beautifully bred horse. Out of Puissance, bred at Coolmore in Ireland and a quality horse. Sadly, although I really developed her flatwork she really was quite full on to compete. It was quite disappointing as some days I would have great dressage scores in the 20s and other days I would barely be in the 50’s – depending on where the cross country was situated. She was one of those very gifted horses who sadly didn’t have the right temperament to be a super amateur event horse.

Despite my setbacks with her I really did see an improvement in my mood. My self esteem retuned as I lost weight, a horse driven routine gave me a focus and my competitive drive returned. Sadly I decided to part with Clio as I felt I needed a horse that I could improve my riding on. Horses need to be placed where they can do the best job and she has now gone off to be a whips horse with a local hunt. She loves her job and is doing what she does best. I think she will be making some appearances in some Hunt races which she will adore.

Thinking back I can’t believe it’s only been three and a half years since I’ve been back in the saddle. It seems like much longer. My little chat with my friend today has made me feel quite proud. So many big life changes and challenges I’ve got through. Life has not always been easy but I haven’t given up yet and I have a lot to thank for my horses who have given me my positivity and tenacity back again. For that I truly am blessed. 

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