We spoke to some of Regional and National Managers and asked them to share their BHS story and some of their key achievements.
Helene started work for the BHS in 1999 and after 19 years is the longest-serving member of the development team. Formerly a newspaper editor and award-winning journalist, communications has been her forte. Helene was the third Scottish development officer and the first woman in the role.
She joined BHS Scotland just as Scotland got its own Parliament. In 2018 every single piece of legislation relating to the horse is devolved in every sphere of BHS activity. Helene leads an enthusiastic team of four staff in Scotland, and while her particular role is policy orientated, it is the Scottish volunteers who further the Society’s aims on the ground, where they are active in the fields of welfare, access, safety and training as well as providing local events for members.
- Growing membership in Scotland from 2,000 to 7,000.
- In 2003 Helene represented the BHS and visited the Kentucky Rolex with BETA to promote the society and its approvals and education system.
- At the time of arrival there were 10 BHS Approved Centres in the US, and by the time they left another six were seeking approval.
“I joined the team at the end of March 2017 as the Regional Manager for Scotland, working alongside Helene Mauchlen. Even though I am one of the most recent members of this team, I had lots of experience volunteering for the BHS, both at a local, regional and national level.
The main highlight of 2017 was organising and taking part in the BHS Scotland Highlands and Islands Tour with Professor Derek Knottenbelt to provide talks and veterinary clinics to the more remote areas of Scotland. This covered Skye, Lewis, Caithness, Orkney and Shetland – this was a fantastic opportunity to meet the BHS members in these areas and to experience their enthusiasm. Following on from this tour, the 14th regional committee in Scotland has been established, which is on Shetland.
I joined the Development Team because as an active volunteer when the position came up it was an opportunity that I could not miss out on – lots of members and friends say that this job was made for me”.
- 14 regional committees are covering Scotland
- During the BHS Scotland Highlands and Islands tour over 900 miles were covered by car and this doesn’t include the four ferry crossings and two flights to travel to the more remote areas.
- There were over 300 BHS Scotland dates in 2017 for events, talks, training, access rides and competition etc.
“My background is in transport with professional qualifications in national road haulage operations. Born into an equestrian and farming family with a father who had a National Hunt trainers permit I rode from an early age and attended Pony Cub from age five representing the local branch in all disciplines including the Prince Phillip Mounted Games as well as successfully going through the Pony Club test structure.
We also had showjumpers, eventers and hunters and I rode point-to-point for several years spending time training at the late Bill Bryans yard. I then moved into equestrian retail and ran a saddlery business for over ten years. During that time I also had a National Hunt horse in training that ran 4th at Cheltenham I have been with the BHS for 15 years now. The job is varied; you need a strong equestrian background as you never know what question or advice you may be asked for day to day. I have over 100 volunteers in Wales and the Channel Islands, and they all do a fantastic job!
When the role was advertised, I knew it was the one I was looking for to put my experience to best use… I have enjoyed every second and to be part of such a dynamic and successful team that is the face of the BHS is a great privilege”.
- The First Minister for Wales learnt to ride after he met Jan in a local chip shop.
- Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin have been to Wales twice to do BHS demos – the last time they brought a young novice called Valegro… if only the audience realised then what lay ahead.
South: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Oxfordshire
“I was pony mad and never really grew out of it! I learnt to ride at a BHS Approved Centre (well done Mum) then progressed to various loan ponies. I completed a BA (Hons) in Equine Business Management at Hartpury, then spent a decade in Perthshire at Blair Castle International Horse Trails, working my way from admin assistant to Assistant Director.
My husband and I were looking to move back to the South of England when I saw the Regional Manager post advertised, and it looked great. I knew Helene, the Scottish National Manager, a little bit so I had a vague idea about the job, went for it and the rest is history!
- Growing the membership from under 7,000 to nearly 9,200.
- Launching great fun regional camps and working with fab volunteers.
- Getting to watch some of the top trainers in action
- Running a CPD day with Mary Wanless was brilliant.
- 65 volunteers across five committees
- Hannah travels about 10,000 miles a year and worked 18 days on trade stands at shows last year - that’s nearly four working weeks out of the office before you even count training days, camps and other events.
London and South East: East Sussex, North and West Kent, South and East Kent, Surrey, West Sussex
“After A-levels at 18 I decided I wanted to work in agricultural land management, so I undertook a college course where I attained qualifications in dairying and agriculture… not to forget sheep shearing! However, BSE had hit the farming industry and jobs were few so I accepted an offer from the bank that I was working for part-time to train as a Financial Advisor. I did this job for many years but I then developed an interest in events and marketing, finally becoming Head of Marketing for a large mortgage broker.
After marrying my husband in 1999 we decided we needed a hobby to do together; golf was not my cup of tea, cycling was boring, so we had a go at horse riding – and the rest is history!
When I saw the Development Officer role advertised in 2008, I didn’t for one minute that I would be the successful candidate – however, to my surprise I was lucky enough to be offered the role.
No two days are ever the same working for the BHS; be it a training event, healthcare clinic, show day, yard visit or a day at the desk there is never a dull moment and I am very fortunate to work within a team of amazing people all who tirelessly promote the best interests of the BHS. As well as colleagues on the Regional Team, we have over 140 volunteers across London and the South East spread across six committees whose achievements cannot ever be underestimated and whose tireless dedication to the work of the BHS is inspirational.”
North West: Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Merseyside and Wirral
Lyndsay joined us as a Regional Manager for the North West from the BEF where she has spent the last two years as an ambassador for equestrian sport, coordinating participation in the North of England. As a Coaching and Sport Development Graduate with international work experience, Lyndsay has more than 18 years of experience in the equine industry.
“I’ve only been in post for three and a half months, but one of the very first events I attended after only three weeks in the job as Regional Manager for the North West was the opening of a multi-user route in Cheshire. This was a lovely first event as the Cheshire committee had worked hard with the developers, Costain to get provision for riders, such as mounting black on either side of the underpass and a Pegasus crossing.
They also saw this as an opportunity to promote safety and had all of the company feet vehicles displaying 15mph pass wide and slow. It’s brilliant to now be part of all of this hard work and supporting and creating more brilliant partnerships and initiatives like this to make sure that horses and riders are considered in plans which affect them.”
West Midlands: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire
“I’ve been a Regional Manager for nearly 14 years, I worked in the Southern Region for four years and transferred to the West Midlands ten years ago, but my involvement with The British Horse Society started way before this as I was a volunteer on my local County Committee for 14 years, in the roles of Secretary, Events Officer and the youngest (at that time) County Chairman.
I love the job as it’s so varied and I get to work with some wonderful volunteers, Accredited Professional Coaches, Approved Centre Proprietors and, of course, our members. I really enjoy organising events and training in the region, our Mounted Games is a particular highlight, it is a memorial competition for our late Regional Chairman, Heather Lucas and something she would have been first in the queue to take part in.
Other highlights include, a surprise meeting with HRH Prince Phillip at The Game Fair (didn’t recognise him at first!) and meeting a delegation of 20 Russians at the Royal Show answering questions about every aspect of the horse industry through an interpreter (not easy!). But my all-time favourite experience was taking part in the BHS Challenge Ride in Mongolia, trekking across the Gobi grasslands on hardy Mongolian horses living life as a nomad.”
East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk
"I saw the job as East of England Development Officer advertised and said to my family this would be my dream job, a change of direction but spending my working life in the horsey environment. So I applied and went to the interview with a positive attitude, this paid off as I got the job. I have been in post for nearly 10 years now and still love it.
I started riding when I was six; I had to learn to swim first, as my mum would not let me start riding until I could swim! I was lucky enough to have my own horse bought for me when I was 13. I owned my own horse until I started to save to buy my first house. I then got back into horses when the children started to ride and I bought myself a horse and the kids a pony 15 years ago.
Most of the horse riding community has one thing in common; a love and passion for horses, as the BHS Regional Manager I try to represent every horse owner, whether it’s a grass roots rider who’s got a problem with a blocked bridleway or a instructor looking for a specific training day. I find although people can be passionate about their chosen discipline, overall when the chips are down they will always help another rider out and are always prepared to go that extra mile for a horse in need."
- On of the best bits about my job is as the facilitator of many different training days I have increased my knowledge immensely and got paid while doing so!
- There is no typical day for me in this job; I can be in my office doing admin or in the region running a training day.