Pre-cross-country dance sessions — and other things you didn’t know about Ben Hobday

  • Fresh off the back of his double clear at Badminton, where he finished 32nd with Mulrys Error, Julie Harding finds out a bit more about the 28-year-old eventer who beat cancer to return to competition this season

    1. Ben‘s secret weapon is a Shetland pony

    “Shadow Super Steve puts a smile on everyone’s face after a busy day.”

    2. He knows how to wine and dine clients

    “My favourire restaurant is Gusto in Knutsford, where they cook the best steaks. I take a lot of my clients there, so anyone wanting to buy a horse from me will get to visit and enjoy it. They also make great cocktails and I love playing cocktail roulette when the bar staff choose your drink. I find I sell a lot of horses after that.”

    3. He’s secured some first-class grooms

    “My best tip for saving time around the yard is to find some super grooms who will run your life. I have some, but I can’t name them in case someone else offers them a job.”

    4. He’s partial to some pre-cross-country dancing

    “When I’m on the lorry I listen to rap, house and a bit of R&B. Georgie Spence once caught my team and me at Badminton having a dance session before I rode across country.”

    5. He follows his heart

    “I once flew to Marbella for the day following an invite from Emma Carmichael. She hadn’t expected me to go — we had only met briefly at Bramham beforehand — but it is just as well I did as she is now my fiancé.”

    6. He has a penchant for chocolate

    “My biggest indulgence is chocolate. I wish it could be drip-fed, but because I’m an athlete I don’t indulge at this time of year, of course.”

    7. He’s learnt from his mistakes

    “The biggest mistake I have learnt from was falling at the last fence during my first advanced at Witton Castle. I came in at a flat-out gallop, the horse fell through it and I did a triple somersault. That taught me to respect every fence, from the first to the last.”

    8. In another life, he would like to have been a racing car driver

    “If it hadn’t been eventing, I would have raced cars like my dad Steve, who was also a British motocross champion. Motocross has no appeal to me because there’s no money in it, but I fancy my chances in Formula One. I love the idea of pushing myself to the limits.”

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    9. He has his priorities right

    “Cancer taught me that life is short and you have to enjoy every minute, work hard and push boundaries. If you want to do something, do it now. What’s the worst that can happen?”

    Don’t miss our feature about what makes Ben’s ride Mulrys Error so special in the 26 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine, out next week

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