In the lead up to the much-anticipated Badminton Horse Trials, we sat down to chat with Kate Honey, the international event rider who finished as best GB first-timer at Badminton in 2018 on her “once in a lifetime” horse, Fernhill Now or Never.

When did you first get that feeling that Fernhill Now or Never would be your Badminton ride?

You never really know how a horse will do at Badminton and he always surprised us along the way. As an intermediate 3* horse who was super careful and a horse I trusted meant we had an amazing partnership.

With a reported 40 first timers making their debut at Badminton, what would be your one bit of advice?

 Enjoy it and take it all in! Keep everything normal leading up to the event, don’t change anything and keep calm, as someone once told me, “at the end of the day it’s just a little hunter trial in Gloucester”.

Know your horse. Don’t let anyone influence you that doesn’t know your horse. Remember, you know what works for you and your horse.

What makes you most nervous – dressage, cross country or show jumping?

Fernhill Now or Never was very difficult to manage on the flats. He hated crowds and so keeping him chilled and keeping me chilled was hard. He wasn’t a showman, let’s put it that way!

The cross country I just wanted to do and do as well as I could to pay back all the effort everyone put in to get me there. I didn’t want to let anyone down.

By the show jumping stage, I was sat on a very tired horse and although he was an amazing jumper the challenging ground conditions combined with his exhaustion made it very hard for him.

What do enjoy most out of dressage, cross country and show jumping?

Definitely the cross country, it’s such an adrenalin rush and very cool to say you’ve been round Badminton!

Did anything take you by surprise on the course at Badminton?

I do remember coming down to the lake and thinking oh no, I can’t see the fence due to the amount of people. The crowds are unbelievable, and I wasn’t expecting it on that level. We were cheered at every single fence, which I’ve never had before at an event.

You have ridden at Pau and Luhmuhlem, how does Badminton differ to those?

The crowds mainly. Badminton has a unique atmosphere and it’s much bigger than the other 5*s.

How many times did you walk the course?

After the rider’s briefing I walked the course five times, and each round was about  1.5-2 hours. It’s best to walk it with your trainer or someone who is experienced and knows about Badminton.

Will you be attending Badminton this year?

I’ll be there on the Friday although I find it very hard going to these events and being a normal spectator rather than being involved. I do know people competing this year and I’ll be looking out for them.

If you could choose to ride on one horse at this year’s event, who would it be?

Classic Moet looks like a cross country machine so would be a good one.

It’s a given, as Brand Ambassador for See Change Now, you are committed to reducing your own carbon footprint, but what other initiatives have you adopted to become more sustainable?

 I always recycle as much as I can, and I try to keep my single use plastic consumption to a minimum by doing things such as using reusable water bottles and using the See Change Now horse shampoo bar.

To find out more about Kate Honey, visit the Kate Honey Eventing website and be sure to check into the Badminton site for latest details.