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Meet the Team

The Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials have a core team of people who plan and organise the event.  They are the Event Director, Event Secretary, Entries Secretary and Event Administrator. 

Mandy Hervieu

Originally brought up in Jersey in the Channel Islands, Mandy studied Zoology at Nottingham University then went on to do a Postgraduate qualification in Travel and Tourism at Manchester before undertaking a career in the travel industry.  Having worked at Thomas Cook Direct for several years where she was Head of Sales and Marketing she joined Petplan as the Commercial Director and through their sponsorship became involved with Blenheim. After a sabbatical travelling the world she joined the core organising team at Blenheim for the 2005 European Championships and took over as Event Director in 2007.

Married to Simon Esnouf she lives in Oxfordshire with their horses, dogs and cat and is a keen skier as well as enjoying riding and swimming in her spare time.

Shelley Bacon

Shelley, originally from the north Norfolk coast, has been at Blenheim for six years. She join the BPIHT team having studied at the Royal Agricultural College during which time she was involved with the implemenation of Blair Castle International Horse Trials and country fair. This experience has broadened her knowledge of equestrian event management, complimenting her enthusiasm for the sport of eventing. Shelley's coordinates the famous army of Blenheim volunteers alongside managing event contractors and personnel. 

Emily Bradford 

Emily joined the BPIHT team in March 2017. After studying a degree in equine science at Oxford Brookes University, she worked at The Horse Trust where she managed a variety of events for the charity. Emily's main responsibilities at Blenheim include looking after the extensive shopping village and coordinating exciting programmes for the popular attractions arena and learning area.      

BPIHT Steering Group

The above core office team is admirably supported by the Steering Group. The Steering Group have a huge wealth of knowledge across many sectors.

Karen Bartlett

Karen is a partner in a top 15 national firm of accountants, Saffery Champness, where she specialises in looking after landed estate, private families including trusts and sports persons as well a large number of charities and not for profit organisations and commercial companies. Karen has headed up the High Wycombe office for over 15 years.

Karen was the organiser of Salperton Park Horse Trials until 2014. She is also the Hon Treasurer and Committee Member of the Horse Trials Support Group and the British Eventing Organisers Association. Karen has seven horses and spends most of her spare time watching them compete.

Karen helps the Steering Group to see the event from a horse owners' prospective as well as inputting in a financial and organisational aspect. On event, her primary responsibility is to act as a liaison to the Event Rider Masters team.

Phil Duff

Phil Duff is one of the most well respected entrepreneurs in the equestrian industry. His experience in leading equestrian and country lifestyle brands is second to none and, alongside a finely tuned team, he established Ariat’s dominance in the UK and European footwear market.

Driven by performance, Phil’s experience in the equestrian profession began in the early 80’s when he saw a gap in the market for a more casual approach to riding wear. In 1983 innovative clothing brand HAC-TAC was born. By 1997, HAC-TAC had pioneered equestrian cotton legwear in the UK and beyond, when Ariat’s founder, invited Phil to establish the American brand into the English riding market.

Phil has been a passionate member of the BETA International Trade Fair Committee and has worked tirelessly to secure long-term relationships within the industry. In 2014, Phil embarked on the next phase of his equestrian career as an independent business professional.

Alex Fox

Alex has been a British Eventing Board member since 2005, also being voted in as a BE Chairman in 2007 for a term. She brings with her a wealth of experience from her role at BE, where she currently co-oversees Finance.

Niki Jackson

Niki joined the Steering Group in 2016, accepting particular responsibility for our army of volunteers. Niki was previously involved with BPIHT for many years as a Head of Department for the grandstand and hospitality teams. In 'real life', Niki is a corporate lawyer based near Leamington Spa. 

Gillian Kyle

Gillian had a long and successful competitive career in eventing riding at many of the world’s top events. In 1980 she was selected to ride at the Moscow Olympics but due to the later boycott was diverted to the alternative Olympics at Fontainbleu in France. A car crash resulting in neck injuries ended this career but Gillian still rides competitively today in pure dressage. She and her husband run a stud farm breeding and producing potential eventers and showjumpers.

Gillian has been Technical Delegate at Tattersalls, Ballindenisk, Necarne and Dartfield in Ireland as well as at Burgie, Houghton Hall, Osberton, Weston Park, Hartpury in Britain and at Martinvast in France, European Young Rider Championships in Pardubice in 2007 and the World Breeding Championships at Lion d'Angers for three years, North American Junior and Young Riders Championship at  Lexington, Haras du Pin and Blenheim. She also had the privilege of stewarding at WEG in Kentucky. 

Wendy McGowan

Arriving at British Evening six years ago, it was a complete change from the companies that Wendy had historically worked for. Horses had always been a hobby and since her daughter started to ride some 10 years ago, they had become a much bigger part of Wendy’s life.

Wendy’s career in finance started at GEC Telecommunications where she completed an Accountancy and Business Apprenticeship. Wendy worked for Alvis Logistics Ltd for 18 years and saw various restructures and takeovers, the last being by Northrop Grumman, one of the largest defence companies in the US. The company designed and manufactured bomb disposal vehicles, with their largest customer being the UK MOD. At that time Wendy was promoted from Finance Director to Managing Director, a position held for 7 years.

Having had a daughter during this time, Wendy reconsidered her work life balance and decided that a change was needed. They say timing is everything and so when she learned of the vacancy at British Eventing, she did not hesitate to apply and the rest they say is history!

Wendy’s role at BPIHT as catering, programme selling and treasury Head of Department is very different to the Chief Operating Officer role she has back in the office but she relishes the opportunity to meet the other volunteers and officials as she wizzes around the site on a buggy!