This week at DAKS we are celebrating the historic Royal Windsor Horse Show, with this year’s virtual show. This show marks over 40 years of DAKS’ official sponsorship of The Mounted Pony Club Games, so to honour this DAKS caught up at home with equestrian fan, Hum Fleming.
This year, 2020, marks only the third time that Show has been cancelled in its 77 year history. In response, the show has been launched virtually with online showing classes, shopping, news and round-ups of exciting equestrian updates! The virtual show is also staged to raise money for the NHS Charity’s Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. With this in mind, we caught up with Charity Ambassador and Fashion Model Hum Fleming, descendant of the iconic Fleming banking dynasty and great-niece of the James Bond creator; Ian Fleming. We discussed Hum’s long-standing affinity with horses and how they have contributed to her health and happiness over the years, as well as her current working from home set-up with Ben the retired black cob…
Where does your love of horses’ stem from?
I’ve been lucky enough to have grown up with horses in my blood. My grandparents and my dad were all keen horsemen, so I was surrounded from a young age and felt totally at ease around them.
Having grown up with horses, are there any memories that stand out to you in particular?
When I was 3, I was put on a tiny black Shetland pony called Spud. He was only 10 hands (just over 3 feet tall) I was probably even shorter! At this age my dad had to lead me on foot as I was too small to hold the reigns. I felt unstoppable and fell in love then and there. One of my earliest memories is falling off Spud whilst trying to get a ginger biscuit out of my pocket, I was concentrating far more on the biscuit than the task in hand!
With a busy and multifaceted career, how does equestrianism fit into your current lifestyle?
Sadly, it doesn’t much anymore. I developed epilepsy at thirteen and it was a concern of my neurologist and family about falling on my head and risking further damage. I now look after Ben, a retired black cob. Bred when I was five we grew up together. He’s now 25, too old to ride but loves to come on walks through the woods unbridled and free to roam. He’s an incredible character- and squeals when happy.
How do you think your relationship with horses has contributed to your overall happiness, health and general well-being?
Winston Churchill once said “There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.” Not only can you share exhilarating experiences together when riding, but I think in general horses have an innate empathy with humans. I recently was sent this incredible video of Peyo the French ‘healing horse’, who’s rider takes him to hospitals to meet patients from palliative care and to interact with them as a form of therapy.
As the ambassador of the charity Young Epilepsy, how important do you think sporting activities are in reducing the symptoms and side effects of epilepsy?
Sport is great for everyone’s mental health – with or without epilepsy! Exercise can improve mood/relieve stress and as stress is a common trigger for seizures, it may help to prevent seizures. I’ve always been relatively fit, but an ex- boyfriend took me to Box Clever Sports, an awesome no-frills boxing gym in a car park on Ladbroke Grove. I was hooked immediately and now go 5 times a week. In fact, BCS head trainer Pete Liggins and I now host my ‘Exercise for Epilepsy’ event during National Epilepsy Week. (This year it will be on the 19th May – and due to lockdown will be a virtual live class on Instagram. Anyone is welcome to join!)
What do you love about what you do?
I love being an ambassador for Young Epilepsy because I’m able to raise awareness of the condition and therefore de-stigmatising the general public perceptions surrounding the condition. Ultimately the main aim of this is to raise funds for much needed research. I’ve also had the chance to meet some unbelievably inspirational kids who don’t let epilepsy define them and thrive with it.
What's your morning routine and how has this changed since working from home?
My alarm goes off at 7.15 every morning. Most of the time I’m already awake - unlike my twin sister who’s like a sloth waking up! I get up, get into workout gear, neck a coffee and go straight into a live boxing class at 8am on @boxcleversports Instagram. After that its boiled eggs n soldiers (a firm fave), epilepsy pills, shower and then I’m at my desk working by 9am.
5Top Tips to keep focussed while working from home?
1. Find a routine and stick to it.
2. Make sure to exercise. It makes a huge difference to my morale and energy for the rest of the day.
3. Take breaks from your desk to get fresh air.
4. Limit Netflix until after 7pm – no matter how much F1 Drive to Survive is calling you!
5. Put a lock on the fridge! When I first started WFH I got addicted to snacking on Baby Bells!
What do you wear when working from home?
I have lived in lycra/sweatpants! Sweaty Betty leggings have become my staple then a hoody or Dad’s jumper. Bar that jeans and a t-shirt.
How do you incorporate your style into your home?
I don’t! I’m luckily quarantining at my parents’. I grew up here and wouldn’t change a thing.
Define your style in three words:
Relaxed, tom-boyish, and lives for a suit!
Most treasured item in your wardrobe?
A spotted floor-length vintage Jean Varon dress I bought to wear to my best friend’s wedding.
The one item of clothing you think is worth investing in each season?
A suit. Whether its statement or staple – I think they are fab for dressing up (with heels and nothing else!) or down with box- fresh trainers and a white tee.
How do you unwind/top tips to de-stress?
A few ways depending on the time of day and level of stress...
1. Exercise, a good sweat session to get endorphins going!
2. A cuppa builders tea always - in the garden if sunny.
3. Lindt dark chocolate and sea salt. (My Achilles heel)
First place you’ll eat / visit post working from home?
Casa Cruz... Or to be honest anywhere as long as I am shoulder to shoulder with friends and able to hug them all!
To get involved in the Virtual Royal Windsor Horse Show...
Hum Fleming's Top Picks for the Royal Windsor Horse Show