All in a day’s work: supergroom Mark Beever, who looked after Big Star *H&H Plus*

Nick Skelton’s long-term groom Mark Beever on unruly manes, swearing in front of Princess Anne and having a demi-perm to look like John Francome, as told to Jennifer Donald

None of my family was horsey but I’ve always loved racing and I learned to ride aged 10 at Dulwich Riding School alongside Dane Rawlins. We used to have competitions for condition and turnout in Hyde Park with all the other riding schools from the area. Riding in the ring has never interested me, I’ve just always liked looking after the horses.

When I left school, I worked for Dulwich Riding School before going to stunt rider Greg Powell, who has done stunts for the Bond films as well as jousting and he enjoyed hunting.

My first job in showjumping was working for international rider Sally Mapleson. She sent two horses to Nick Skelton – Rhapsody and Airborne – and I went with the horses. She said I wouldn’t last more than a couple of months with Nick, but 35 years later I’m still here…

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