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Badminton First-Timer Kate Honey

Kate Honey Pau

I can’t believe Badminton is nearly here and I am at the cusp of starting my first journey to one of the most famous three day events in the world. So before I get stuck into the week, I wanted to give you a bit of background on me, but more importantly my horse of a lifetime Fernhill Now or Never (Hugo for short).

Horses have been my passion and focus for as long as I can remember, my earliest pony days started in Yorkshire, then age 11 my family relocated to New Jersey in the USA. This was a big change for us, but such a unique experience. I got a lot of practice show-jumping in the states and was lucky enough to work with legendary trainers including George Morris and Anne Kursinsky. I went to the National Pony Club Championships on several occasions and had some great horses that got me some decent placings in the Jersey State Junior Leagues. We then moved back to the UK in 2000 and I went on to get a BSc degree in Equine Science at Moreton Morell. Since completing that in 2006 I have been working with horses full time and, along with my mother, set up Meridian Sport Horses from our base in Lambourn.

Now onto the man of the moment – Hugo. As his earlier mentioned prefix suggests, we bought him from Carol Gee of Fernhill Sport Horses as a 5 year old. The story goes that she sourced him from Petra Tuvesson who spotted him in a cattle market in the west of Ireland! Due to this we know little about his early life and he has no known breeding. Over the years I have had an amazing time with him taking him from 100s right the way through to 4* level. He is lovely boy, but quite a nervous character and likes to keep himself to himself. He has always been an incredible jumper, but the flatwork hasn’t been quite so easy for him. A definite highlight along the way was getting a GB cap, as we were part of the 2* team in 2011. At 7 years old he was the youngest horse at the championships and we were one of only five combinations to go clear that week.

Since then I have spent quite a lot time building up his confidence at 3* level before making the step up at Pau two years ago, we have gone onto complete Luhmuhlen and Pau 2017 since then and are now heading to the big B! I have to say when we bought him, I never dreamt he would turn into my multiple 4* horse, but you just never no with horses and he has kept on giving.

Despite the slightly/very trying British weather, we have still managed to get some great runs in with Hugo, so I am happy with where we are at in terms of preparation. I also had a rare couple of hours away from horses sourcing the vital Badminton trot up outfits, along with a bit of a photoshoot to show them off! I now can’t wait to get there and see what we can do.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to catch up on our story so far and keep your eyes out for our next update as a “Badminton First Timer”.

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