Pol Roger have a long history of sponsoring exciting, and sometimes somewhat eccentric events – from real tennis to horse racing. But the company are also staunch supporters of country sports, so it makes perfect sense for the champagne house to turn their hand to three-day eventing. This year they have decided to sponsor Burghley Horse Trials, as well as the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe, and they very sensibly chose to celebrate their sponsorship of these events in the Officer’s Mess of the Household Cavalry’s home in Hyde Park Barracks.
Eventing might be a new sport for Pol’s portfolio, but they have two ambassadors who are perfectly placed to teach them the tricks of the trade. Harry Meade is the son of eventing legend Richard Meade, who won three Olympic golds, and Harry has been placed at Badminton nine times. Their other ambassador is Laura Collett, whose eye is on a place at Rio this summer, and who already has a number of FEI medals under her belt. Laura and Harry were joined by Mary King, who has represented Team GB at the Olympics six times, and has been British Champion more times than any other rider. Quite a trio, by anyone’s standards.
As well as drinking champagne, the three of them were there to discuss the differences and difficulties of the two courses and what their own aims are for the future (and in the case of Mary, those of her daughter Emily, who is also an eventer). Alright, so the ins and outs of the cross country courses at Gatcombe and Burghley might not be all that thrilling if you’re not an eventing fan (it’s a bit like golf nuts analysing every hole of the Old Course at St Andrews), but for eventing fans, things don’t come much better than this.