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BEMA Bulletin - Issue 1

King charles watches the pony Club games at Royal Windsor Horse Show 2024.


Hello and welcome to this first BEMA Bulletin. I suggested the idea at past AGMs, so inevitably was asked to start it by Chairman Rupert! The aim? To produce a quarterly newsletter with BEMA committee updates, news about members, new member information, any info from shows and riders you may have missed, generally content to enhance your BEMA membership. It won’t be a directory of names and numbers – you can get that elsewhere. 

You can help it by letting us know anything interesting about your equestrian working life – stories you’ve authored that deserve a wide audience (send us a link to it) or something you’ve been involved in (send us details) so we can tell everyone else. The initial plan is to publish BEMA Bulleting in April before Badminton and Windsor, July, October and at after the AGM and LIHS at Christmas. 

With any luck it will evolve over coming issues to become a useful and readable addition to your inbox, so bear with me and send any info to the address at the bottom of this first one. 


BEMA has put together some suggested guidelines to help both shows and all content creators, including writers, photographers, influencers etc. These are designed to be used in whatever way events and press offices may find useful. With the rise of new media platforms and creators, we want everyone to feel welcome in the working environment, so the main point of these guidelines is simply to be a helpful tool for everyone involved.

BEMA is now on Instagram – do give us a follow at

The first two major shows of the season get underway shortly, with a one-off date swap seeing Royal Windsor happening first followed by Badminton Horse Trials. Simon Brookes-Ward told us in December that there will be a few changes to the RWHS format, which sounded different and exciting, so hope they get a good reception from visitors. I’m told by BBC Sport scheduling there’s the usual two-hour Badminton Horse Trials programme on Sunday 12th May from 2-4pm on BBC TWO. It will cover all the dressage and cross country highlights, live coverage of the showjumping phase top 10, so worth letting your readers know this. 

The big event in the north of England in June is of course Bolesworth International and Show President Nina Barbour has kindly invited BEMA members to the opening day on Thursday 6th June with a view to coverage and networking. The day will include lunch in the VIP hospitality marquee, a talk by Nina plus an exclusive course walk and tour. Email by 6th May to register your interest.

BEMA is intending to set up a photographers sub-committee. For any topics that you think it would be useful for the group to look at, email

Press Accreditation for Hickstead is now open – go to


We welcome the following new members to BEMA:

Maxime David
Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes
Steven Wilde
Edwina Hett edwinahett@nicoRuth Gregory

Do encourage any colleagues working in any branch of journalism you know to join us, as together we are stronger. Point them to our website where there’s a front page link to our online membership application form.


Each BEMA Bulletin will feature a Q+A with BEMA’s leading lights. This month we start at the top, and BEMA’s chairman Rupert Bell.

  1. What three words describe yourself? Enthusiastic, passionate and lucky 
  2. First horsey memory? Arkle winning the 64 Cheltenham Gold Cup 
  3. How and when did you start working in equestrian sport? Came to it via racing, and started in earnest in 2004 when my company Lloyd Bell Productions got the contract to distribute interviews and news reports to radio stations
  4. A favourite memory from the sport. Being driven around Badminton by Prince Philip in the early 70’s. Long story!
  5. Name someone you’ve admired, in or out the competition arena. Carl Hester is totally responsible for taking  dressage from a sideshow into the popular sport it is now 
  6. Have you a favourite horse to watch? Difficult to single out one, but from each discipline - Valegro, King Edward, Lordships Graffalo
  7. What change in equestrian sport would you like to see? This mainly applies to jumping, but the product outside the big showpiece occasions is a bit diluted. It bears comparisons at times to what’s going on in golf
  8. Describe life away from the collecting ring and media centre. Still quite hectic, but I love nothing better than pottering in the veg garden, or hacking a golf ball around a course
  9. Tell us a little-known fact about yourself. I went to the National Youth Theatre
  10. Who’d play you in a Hollywood film? Colin Firth, I arrogantly suggest! 


Familiar BEMA face Debra Hargrave is now working with a new client, the season-ending ‘Horse of the Year Show,’ which is this year celebrating its 75th Anniversary. She will also be continuing to work with Sandy Thwaites for their Pro-Rider Academy clients and is looking  forward to announcing a major new project over the coming months. Pro-Rider Academy supported riders include Horse & Hound's 'Event Rider to Watch for 2024', Caroline Harris, who recently notched up a 3* international win at Thoresby Park on D Day; and showjumper Olli Fletcher who is this year competing GCT. Olli had his first 5* win at Doha recently and is all set to compete in his first Windsor 5* next month. Will Fletcher also has a promising string of horses who are set to become rising stars over the next two years. 

For further info contact Debra Hargrave via or email

BEMA member Eleanore Kelly, whose work has included many national newspaper features articles for the ‘Mail on Sunday’ and the ‘Daily Telegraph’ as well as much broadcast work, has had a huge career switch in recent years. Thanks to a simple idea it’s taken her from a stables base in Hampshire to places far and wide, vastly different from the world of journalism, and is currently in the USA. She reflects from there “I was reporting at a women’s football match at West Ham when the idea struck me that football boots now used polymer studs rather than metal. When it was explained to me this was for reasons of safety I felt compelled to try and develop the very first polymer stud for horses. That was in 2018, the product was launched in August 2023, and I'm writing this from the Kentucky Three Day event where I’m launching the studs to the US market. They are now sold in 26 countries”. So how does Ellie manage to juggle both these quite different lives? “It has pros and cons. You’re essentially selling a story. You need to know and understand your audience, which after 15 years of equestrian and racing journalism and 30 odd years of horse ownership I could say I do. I’ve also had lots of experience on both sides of the camera, so that has helped not only produce video content but has given me confidence not only to sell the studs to riders and retailers but also to stand up in front of a room of potential investors. I am lucky to have the variety and am sure I enjoy both things more as a result. I’m definitely ready for an assistant though, preferably one good with numbers!”

You can contact Eleanore at


Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, writes:

Results of latest annual public opinion research on equine welfare to be announced and discussed by sport leaders.

In the run up to this summer’s Olympics and Paralympics, and a forthcoming review of British racing’s welfare strategy, we consider the ever-changing landscape of public discourse around the involvement of horses in sport. Who exactly is influencing who?

World Horse Welfare works across the world to improve the horse-human relationship. As part of this work, we strive to help the equestrian world maintain public acceptance of the involvement of horses in sport and leisure.

SAVE THE DATE - Wednesday 12th June, 11AM at Saddlers Hall, London EC2V 6BR (or virtually)

This event builds on the previous years’ polls of public opinion, reviewing latest developments and any changes in public perception about how horses are trained, cared for, used and retired in sport and will include a panel discussion with leading figures in horse sport.

For more details contact Roly at


Niki McEwen at rEvolution felt you ought to see a fun film produced on behalf of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, featuring Jack Whitaker and Joe Stockdale with the Show’s appointed caterers, Mosimann’s. They swapped their show jackets for aprons for the ‘Great Royal Windsor Bake-Off.’

Whitaker and Stockdale were tasked by Mark Mosimann – the son of the club’s founder – to make two elements of the afternoon tea set to be available at Royal Windsor, including scones and finger sandwiches. With the challenge set and the clock counting down, the boys put their culinary skills to the ultimate test, with some very entertaining results including a mishap with the baking soda. 

You can see the film here

That’s it for the first BEMA News. Do send any feedback, as well as any snippets of interest for our next issue in July to me in suitable time, and let’s hope our spring shows are blessed with pleasant weather after the rather wet start to 2024.

Best wishes

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