Ever wondered what eventing star Ben Hobday would do if horses were out of the picture? He answers all the burning questions you’ve been itching to ask
Although he’s a fresh and youthful face on the international eventing circuit, it’s safe to say Lancashire born Ben Hobday hasn’t spent any time resting on his laurels. With Young Rider European titles to his name, completions at some of the biggest events under his belt, social media stardom and a cancer scare all before the tender age of 30, Ben’s not only a bit of an over-achiever, but an inspiration to horsey and non-horsey folk alike – particularly when paired with his V8 ‘supercob’, Mulrys Error. We were lucky enough to grab 10 minutes with Ben to ask him everything.
Name: Ben Hobday
Date of birth: 28/04/1988
Hometown: Rossendale, Lancashire
Notable achievements: Ben was the first member of his Pony Club, the Holcombe Hunt, in 25 years to qualify for the Pony Club Championships in all three disciplines and then went on to win the under-21 National Championships. In 2008, he won team gold and individual bronze medals at the European Championships at Kreuth, Germany, riding Uptons Who. Since then, he’s stacked up numerous completions at Bramham, Blenheim and Burghey, and finished clear and 33rd at Badminton in 2016 atop Mulrys Error, just months after finishing chemotherapy. As if all this wasn’t enough, he produces top event prospects on the side as part of his business, Shadow Sport Horses.
1. First of all, if you could ride any horse from any discipline in the equestrian world, which horse would it be and why?
Hands down, it would have to be Toledo de Kerser, my good friend Tom McEwen’s horse from the World Equestrian Games. He’s got everything you’d ever want in an event horse, so I’d love to have a go.
2. Which riders inspire and influence you in the sport?
It’s got to be William and Pippa Funnell, who I worked for as a groom for a time. Not only can they utilise their unbelievable skills and talent to produce world-class horses, but they deliver the goods on the competition circuit, too.
3. What’s been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
There’s almost been too many to count. Winning a European gold and winning the Under-21 Championships were both super. However, jumping double clear at Badminton Horse Trials after just finishing chemo was the best feeling ever – I just felt so alive.
4. Mulrys Error and Harelaw Wizard are both big, solid horses who aren’t typical eventing types. How do you get the best out of them so they can reach the top level?
They don’t always have the same characteristics as the more conventional eventer, so it’s important to listen to them and play to their individual strengths.
5. If you were going to be stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you and why?
Some music so I could throw a party, all my friends to come along and party with me, and my phone so I could invite anyone and everyone.
6. What drives you to keep going when times are tough?
I’ve got this inner hunger that drives me to get where I want to go – no matter what. First, you’ve got to believe it, then you’ll find a way to achieve it.
7. If you weren’t an event rider, what do you think you’d be doing?
It’s a tough one, but I’d secretly love to be a gangster rapper!
8. Finally, how do you unwind after an intense season of competitions and training?
Spending time with my lovely wife, Emma Hobday.