Categories : Latest News
A day in the life of a show girl... Sukie Read
Sukie is Andrew’s - Mr Hiho’s – sister-in-law and has been an occasional member of the shows team since 2000. She now takes holiday from her day job to work at her favourite shows and is always accompanied by her terriers, (Neurotic) Nemo and (Bad Boy) Bingo, who are a well-known fixture on the Hiho stand. She’s in charge of the kitchen, mixes a mean cocktail and loves to bake – all of which make her a valued member of the team!
With luck I’ll have had a great night’s sleep on my double bed in the back of Norman the horse lorry. During the winter Norman is used for his intended job of ferrying horses around, but after a good pressure wash in the spring he becomes home for the shows team. Complete with cooking facilities, home cinema (OK, a laptop and TV screen) and a lot of fridge space (for all our wine!), staying in Norman is really quite civilised.
Taking the dogs for a walk is job number one. We can have up to five mutts, depending on who is working, but usually we have the most stunning backdrops for our morning amble – Badminton, Burghley and Gatcombe are the best. A quick shower – in Norman again – cuppa and breakfast and we’re ready to crack on with putting out the jewellery. Then we get down to the serious business of chatting to our lovely customers, many of whom we see year in, year out.
It’s a long day as we’re usually open by 8.30am and don’t finish up until at least 7.30pm. On a busy Saturday at a three day event like Badminton and Burghley, we barely have time to take a breather, but I can honestly say that I love meeting all the customers, new and old and the day really does fly by. Mind you, we sometimes need a little sharpener in the afternoon to keep us motivated, but stick by Andrew’s motto of “no whisky before 11am”!
When we’re done for the day, we take the jewellery off the stand, put on the dust cloths, lock up and pour ourselves something cold and refreshing. It’s then my job to rustle something up for supper and quite often we’ll join forces with the teams at Dubarry, Timothy Foxx and Firepits UK for a BBQ and a gossip. Part of the joy of doing the shows is the great guys working on other stands and the evenings are a chance to catch up with our friends.
Some of the shows put on parties for grooms, riders, sponsors and trade stands and Hiho is always well represented at these! Andrew’s dancing is legendary on the show circuit and he even has a (small) number of groupies courtesy of Ben Hobday’s video tweet of Mr Hiho strutting his stuff!
We’ve also started a tradition at Burghley with our Trade Stands Challenge, a highly competitive night of general knowledge, practical skills – from making jewellery to using modelling balloons to market your business – and the perennially bizarre surprise round which can be anything from apple bobbing, to dangle-thrusting (don’t ask!). We’ve even had eventing royalty joining in the fun, with Mary and Emily King making up a team one year.
Pack down at the end of the show is fast and efficient as we often have a long journey home or on to the next event, and we’re normally done and dusted in about one and half hours. Then it’s a quick goodbye to our friends, make sure we’ve retrieved my terrier Bingo from the nearest burger van and back on the road.