Ben grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire. As a child, he was an enthusiastic member of the Holcombe Hunt branch of the Pony Club, qualifying for the Pony Club Championships in all three phases — the first rider in his club to do so in 25 years.
Keen to become an event rider, he became a working pupil for Cheshire-based eventer Hannah Bate, then jumped at the chance to work for top showjumper William Funnell. With William and his wife Pippa’s encouragement, Ben went on to win the under-21 national championships on Uptons Who, followed by selection for Britain’s young rider squad. In 2008, he won team gold and individual bronze medals at the European Championships at Krueth, Germany.
Uptons Who went on to compete at the top level with Ben and he has ridden at five-star on a number of other horses too, including Harelaw Wizard and Mulrys Error, a part-Clydesdale described by Clare Balding as having “the biggest feet in eventing”. They went double clear at Burghley 2014. The horse’s unusual build and Ben’s cancer comeback story proved a potent combination for popularity and the pair achieved a huge following on social media, via Mulrys Error’s Twitter profile, @Mr_Mulry, and Ben’s own social media channels, where he uses the hashtags #yehBoi #TrueStory
Ben was the inaugural winner of the Charles Owen Most Memorable Moment of the Year Award at the 2016 Horse & Hound Awards. He captured the imagination of our readers when he achieved a double jumping clear at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after recovering from cancer, completing the cross-country with Willberry Wonder Pony strapped to his back.
Ben runs his own business, Shadow Sport Horse Ltd, producing event horses from his yard in Lancashire. He married fellow eventer Emma Carmichael on New Year’s Eve at the end of 2016, but in March 2021 Ben announced on social media that their marriage had come to an end and they were going their separate ways.