Welcome back to my blog, it has been a while! August was a quieter month for me as we had a family holiday giving the horses a bit of a break after Flo had been a star in her internationals in July!
September was quiet in terms of competitions, but Flo and I have been training very hard, hopefully on our way to the higher levels! I also moved into the University of Exeter later in the month where I have started studying English so my plans in terms of my riding and competing are to commute home every weekend to train and to continue competing to get my scores hopefully enabling me to compete as a young rider later on in the season.
Whilst September seems to have gone in a flash, at the very beginning of the month I had a very exciting visit to the Bedmax offices and plant up in rural Northumberland! I flew from Southampton to Newcastle on the afternoon of the 2nd of September to be greeted by Bedmax’s lovely marketing manager Barbara Huddart whom I had met previously on my interview as part of the process for becoming the 2019 Junior Scholar.
It was lovely to catch up with Barbara as I really discovered how rural Northumberland really was on the way back from the airport!! She even took me to the Scottish border so I can now officially say that I have stepped foot in Scotland! I spent the evening with Managing Director Tim Smalley and his family who were all extremely welcoming and I joined them for their local hunt barbecue before staying at their beautiful home.
The next morning I visited the offices and met the team who, to my surprise, worked in a small cottage-like building with the most beautiful views outside the window. For a company as large and successful as Bedmax I imagined a large corporate building with hundreds of staff so I was pleasantly surprised when I met a team that felt more like a family!
They were all very happy to see me and talk to me about their daily job and it really gave me a sense of how this company can be so successful. Once I had met the team Barbara took me up the road to see the Bedmax plant. This was the most interesting part of the visit to me as the manager of the plant production Adam Robinson (who began with Bedmax at 18) gave me a tour around the plant explaining how every stage of the production works.
I had no idea how much precision was required and found every element of the process interesting, particularly the targets the team set and monitor in order to make sure each batch is the consistent quality that we find in our bags at home!
After the tour I got the opportunity to interview Adam who shared his experiences at Bedmax having began as an apprentice at 18 and is now managing the plant at just 23! He was very inspiring and shows how hard work can really get you to good places. He also explained how Bedmax was motivated to support the next generation, providing young people (like Adam in the company and myself and Frankie as the junior and young rider scholars) with opportunities and support to further their careers and reach their goals.
After interviewing Adam I then returned to the office to interview managing director of the company Tim Smalley to get an idea of Bedmax from the beginning and how it has developed as we are reaching its 20th year! Tim is incredibly humble about all that he has achieved which is refreshing as he doesn’t exactly need to be with his success!
I really enjoyed my time meeting everyone and getting to see how such an incredible company has grown and flourished as we reach the 20th anniversary. I am currently in the process of writing some articles based on my visit so keep an eye out for them and in the meantime the entries for the 2020 Young Rider Scholar open very soon and I definitely encourage everyone to apply!
I never even thought I would get an interview so if you’re thinking of applying then go for it!