Tuesday 11th of May 2021
All in a day's work

Catherine Mills

Burning the candle at both ends is all power for the cause for luxury concierge service Quintessentially’s Group Head of Retention and Equestrian Services, Catherine Mills.

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My weekdays always have to be planned in advance, as working in London but owning horses means that if I know I am out with clients in the evening then I have to be in the saddle at 6.30am!

I literally crawl out of bed at 6am, chuck on the nearest pair of jodhpurs and drive to the stables. I generally prefer to hack in the mornings and thankfully my horse is stabled on one of the most beautiful estates in the Chiltern Hills, which means riding in the dark is possible as it’s all off road!

I do quite enjoy setting off in the dark wearing the head torch and by the time we return it’s just getting light!

It’s always a bit of a rush to get showered and then the train into work. My colleagues usually know when I have ridden as either my hair is a mess or I arrive a few minutes late! Thankfully I have been at Quintessentially for 11 years so everyone understands this crazy routine and constant upload of horse pictures! (apparently I am quite good at turning a normal conversation into something that is related to horses!)

Once I am in the office, breakfast (usually my favourite meal of the day) is always something very exciting like avocado and eggs on toast. We have the most incredible canteen at work, which means that I never go hungry!

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In terms of work, no day is ever the same at Quintessentially, I usually have a few member meetings and I get to meet the most fascinating people.

Everyone is very different, from various countries around the world all from different industries. My job is to get to know our members and ensure that we are continually delivering great service across all levels of membership.

I am also Founder of our Equestrian service which covers so many different areas. For example today organising our VIP badges to our box at Olympia, assisting one of our suppliers who has gone out to Saudi Arabia to help a member set up an equestrian centre, trying to source a trainer in Scotland and talking to one of our members about his equine feed business.

It is a great time to be involved in the sport, over the two years since launching the Equestrian side, I have been assisting anyone from complete beginners with their first ride to sourcing a top level horse for International competition. I find it incredibly rewarding when someone tells me how amazing their first polo lesson was or their first time riding on a beach! The most fun to date has to be bringing ponies to a children’s garden party in central London and walking them through the front door!

I am incredibly lucky that Quintessentially are supportive of the my riding as well, I have recently purchased a new event horse called Daley, he will be registered next year as owned by Quintessentially and if all goes to plan I would love to invite members to come and watch and learn about the sport at some of the stunning venues throughout the country.

We have started doing this at the top level of equestrian sport, I have been lucky to work with some amazing riders and companies who have given our members the most fantastic days at Royal Ascot, Cheltenham, Hickstead, Gatcombe and many more. This is definitely one of the areas that I enjoy most and I hope that we can do many more in the future, I think it is important that we are continually bringing new supporters to the sport.

My afternoon always includes a tea and a cake, again usually made by the wonderful in house Chef Khalid Dahbi.

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One of the best parts of my job is definitely the evening entertainment! This week I was lucky enough to attend the Animal Ball, next week we have the fabulous MDIRF Evening with the Stars and then Olympia the week after that.

I am pleased to be involved with some fantastic equestrian charities. This week I have applied for the big charity race next year at Cheltenham so if my application is accepted my early morning rides may change somewhat and my stirrups will get a lot shorter!

I am normally late to bed given the nature of my job and then before I know it, the alarm is going off again and it’s another exciting day ahead!

www.quintessentially.com

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