Cabin crew, a chance Facebook advert and 8 other things you might not know about the founders of Cuddington Stud

  • In January, H&H went to visit show producers Mark Robert Reeves and Steven Hulston of the Cheshire-based Cuddington stud to see what they’ve been up to over winter and ask about their plans for the future.

    He are 10 things you might not know about the rising production duo:

    1. They met over a Facebook advert

    “I advertised looking for a Fell stallion to use on a client’s mare and Mark answered,” says Steven. “The rest is history.”

    2. They both started out at local riding schools

    Neither are from horsey families but both caught the bug when they started riding at local schools.

    “I then got my first horse when I was 14; she was a proper hairy cob called Molly,” says Mark.

    “My brothers both played football so I started at the stables to get me away from that,”  laughs Steven.

    3. They have both had careers out of the saddle

    After working at his local riding school for some time, Steven took a break from the horse world and worked as cabin crew for British Airways for 13 years. After he left school, Mark worked for equestrian company Derby House in retail and sales. He helped set up the brand and worked on it moving into full time show production.

    4. They are sticklers for correct ground work

    “We do about 70% of our work on the ground,”  says Steven. “We do lots of lungeing and long reining in the arena; we swear by it.”

    5. Both have had older horses win at the top

    “If you look after the horses when they’re younger they will last a lifetime,” says Steven. Their hack mare Graceful Monarch was 15 was she stood second at the Royal International, while Mark’s Welsh cob stallion Fflosas Ceredig was also 15 when he stood second at Horse of the Year Show in the open final.

    6. Organisation is key at Cuddington

    “Our lives are on spreadsheets,” says Mark. “Everything from feeding regimes to work schedules, to worming and flu jab plans. It means that if something isn’t going quite right you can look back and perhaps change tack a bit.”

    7. Both judge and steward

    Both Mark and Steven are on panels for BSPS M&Ms and Steven is also on Ponies (UK), The Showing Register and BSPS show pony and hunter pony panels. While Mark is involved with the NPS riding pony stud book, Steven is on councils for both NPS and NPS Area 4. He also stewards reguarly and is chief steward at the growing STARS championship shows.

    8. Royal Windsor is their favourite show

    “While HOYS and RIHS is the goal, we always try and get our clients to understand the prestige of winning at some of the big county shows,” says Mark. “Windsor is one of our favourite shows. Other early shows we always attend are Ponies UK Spring classic and North of England spring show.”

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    9. HOYS week is manic

    “This year we took five ponies with a few first-time jockeys, so we commuted from home each day,” says Steven. We were up from 11pm on Friday until 11pm on Sunday.”

    10. It’s a family affair

    Last season, Steven’s nieces Isabelle and Ciara joined the show team and they have five exciting mini ponies between them for 2020. Isabelle finished last term standing fourth at HOYS with the four-year-old show pony Tirissa Party Girl.

    Read the full interview in the 2020 showing special (26 March issue).

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