Momentos, Memorabilia & “Souvenir Hunting”

The Unused Winner’s Rug From 2012
I Love Stickers!

I must confess, when it comes to momentos of life’s little experiences, I’m a sucker! Like many of us who event, I will always go home from an event with a photo or two to remind me of the day, even if it was a bad day. My rosettes (or at least the ones I haven’t lost in transit or a house move) hang proudly tucked away somewhere in the house, and I’ve kept every wrist band from every three day I’ve ever been to. I even still have my Olympics pass. I’ve collected stickers for my laptop from all the places I’ve visited. The laptop I’m using right now has stickers from across the US, and my bland looking suitcase has a sticker from the 2011 European Eventing Championships which helps avoid others walking off with it at the baggage reclaim. Stickers are a great marketing give away especially for events.

Take a look around most professional event yards and tack rooms and you’ll see plenty of momentos and memorabilia, ranging from the customary metal plaques for a completion to the promotional posters for an event. Earlier this week my HorseHub business partner, Paul Tapner, was spotted in a parade of Retrained Racehorses at the Cheltenham Festival, wearing the bib number that he was issued for his winning ride at Badminton Horse Trials in 2010. The perfect piece of [legitimate] Memorabilia for a winner of one of the most prestigious 3-day-events!

“Souvenir Hunting” on the other hand can be an altogether more precarious and risky method of picking up a momento, and usually requires a healthy dose of bravado!  As I ran round the Badminton course yesterday, on the first of many trips as part of my preparations for getting website, mobile apps etc. updated, I remembered a few instances of ‘souvenir hunting’ I had witnessed over the years, and heard a new anecdote that made me chuckle.

“Souvenir” Flowers

If you’ve ever been to Badminton in the run up to the event, you’ll have noticed the course isn’t dressed, and many of the finishing touches around the site are left until the last minute. Whilst vandalism isn’t an issue at Badminton, you do get the odd “Souvenir Hunter” and at the end of cross country day it is not unheard of for everything, from fence name plaques and all manage of signage, to be removed from the course by a new army of volunteers – the “Souvenir Hunters”!

The flowers that decorate the cross country fences are generally re-used in the arena, however a few years ago one very enterprising souvenir hunter drove up to the lake after the last horse went through in his Mitsubishi pickup, and started loading flowers into the back of it. The officials at the lake unwittingly helped this guy load up. Five minutes later the man who had been sent to pick them up arrives, only to be told “it’s OK your guy has already picked them up” (and the penny drops!)

I can’t deny having been a ‘collector’ myself before now, and over a drink one day I might tell you my story about a mankin, a national TV news anchor and a police woman, or the one I heard about this Badminton mat.

With the cancellation of Badminton last year a number of items remain safely stored away, including the unused winner’s rug!

Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.

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