Bedmax Shavings is working in partnership with Bella Innes Ker, daughter of the late 10th Duke of Roxburghe, to promote equine health throughout 2020, as she launches her professional career in a bid to become a member of the British Eventing team at European and International level.
With the family seat of Floors Castle located near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, the Roxburghe Estate has had a unique relationship with Bedmax right from the start, supplying timber from the estate’s sustainable forestry to the company’s first factory in nearby Northumberland, and buying Bedmax shavings for the castle stables and for the famous Floors Stud.
Forward-wind 20 years and today Bella too is using the shavings for her five event horses – Carolyn, Cartown Wallabe, DHI Trendsetter, Highway II and Monbeg Voodoo. Although Bella has left Floors for now to base her Roxburghe Eventing team with William Fox-Pitt in Dorset, she is very much focussed on the future. Expanding on her plans, 25-Year old Bella explained:
“After 12 successful seasons of eventing as a passionately keen and dedicated amateur, I am so excited to launch my new venture – Roxburghe Eventing – to further develop my career. I have been lucky enough to have represented Great Britain as a junior on three occasions and very proud to have won two team gold medals, but the highlight of my career to date has been winning Blenheim Four Star International in 2018 with my top mare, Carolyn, and becoming the youngest winner there in history. That’s given me the confidence to move up to the next level and go professional now.”
Bella has ridden and competed all her life, but was inspired to make a career with horses came after her grandmother bought for her 10th birthday present – a day at Chatsworth Estate with equestrian superstar Pippa Funnell. Bella recalls that as she and Pippa sat having a cup of tea, Pippa shared some valuable advice: “Always believe in yourself and don’t let the bad days get in the way of the good ones.”
That advice has stayed with Bella throughout her amateur career and will be the cornerstone for her new professional brand and business. Amateur or professional, the health of Bella’s horses has always been and will always be of paramount importance, and Bedmax shavings will always be her first choice bedding for her horses. Even though the majority of top events provide Bedmax for the competitors’ horses, Bella takes a full supply with her wherever she competes, so there will be no repetition of the potential disaster she experienced at one competition where the bedding the sponsors were using in the stables wasn’t Bedmax.
Her top horse at the time really loved rolling, but on this occasion dust in the bedding caused a severe sneezing fit which brought on a nosebleed. Bella had never used any other bedding than Bedmax and was horrified at the difference. Floors Stud has preferred Bedmax from the start due to its high-quality, low-dust properties, and Bedmax will still be used in the castle stables for the hunters, just as it was when Bella was small. Now Bella is taking Bedmax on her journey as bedding of choice, continuing the 20-year relationship between Floors and Bedmax, but lifting it into a new era and onto a new level.
No-one knows better than Bella how difficult it is to succeed at the highest level – and how difficult it is to keep top-performng horses healthy and fit. But last year she proved that she has the talent, the dedication and the horses to make it to the top. Aside from her success at Blenheim, her results included a 4th and 8th at Blair Castle, 8th at Somerford on her young 6-year-old, 3rd at Burgham, 4th in the Advanced at Chatsworth, and Best Under 25 and 8th at Belton at Advanced.
For the coming season, Bella’s shorter-term goals include improving her overall performance at CIC3* level, aiming for top 10 in all events, strengthening her overall personal fitness levels to maximise performance, competing a variety of new top-class young event horses, and widening her experience and knowledge.
The move to William Fox Pitt’s yard is part of Bella’s commitment to learning, and she has recently been selected for the World Class Podium Potential Pathway squad for 2019-2021, where she will receive invaluable support and guidance from the very best in the industry.
So 2020 looks set to be an incredibly exciting year of change and development for Bella. But one thing that she will definitely take into her new professional eventing life and into the new decade is her loyalty to Bedmax. When it comes to the health of her precious horses, Bella has no intention of using any other bedding.
“Bedmax is by far the best bedding in the industry and the horses adore coming into their stables with huge top quality, low dust beds. It is so essential for their health and well-being for them to have the best quality beds, to ensure they have clear airways at all times, in order for them to perform to their best ability.”