What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your role Hugh? (event director of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials)
Working with an incredible team of volunteers and officials – volunteer management is much more difficult than working with a paid staff but it is also much more fulfilling. Our sport is very volunteer heavy – on cross country day we have 70 – 80 competitors but around 400 volunteers – in addition to all the paid contractors. We also have to create the event on a greenfield site freshly, once a year – thank goodness for the longevity and loyalty of so many people who help! Finally we have to plan for bad weather, but hope for good!
How would you say the 2017 event went?
2017 was special in that Andrew Nicholson who first rode at Badminton in 1984 and had completed the event 36 times without winning, finally got the coveted Mitsubishi Motors Trophy in his hands! As with so many top sporting events, the human stories behind the bare results are what makes an event special. We also had a record year in terms of ticket sales.
What do you think has been behind the event’s success?
We are extremely grateful to Mitsubishi Motors in the UK for many years of sponsorship as well as our incredibly loyal band of official partners, volunteers and officials. The event also has a new host in the recently acceded 12th Duke of Beaufort, Harry Somerset. Harry has always taken an active role in the Event and knows many of the team, who are very grateful for the estate’s continued support.
Through the facilities we provide, the prize money we offer ( the biggest in our minority sport) the high level test we set for the riders – we have been able to continue to attract the very best horses and riders in the world, year after year – TV viewers, radio listeners, online participants, onsite spectators – they all know that when they come to Badminton they will see the very best of our sport. We also have an amazing shopping centre with over 500 exhibitors!
Where would you like to see the event five years from now?
More of the same!! The very highest level of competition and better and better public facilities, physical and digital.