Rosie Margarson jokes that her parents bred her in the hopes of “free labor” and the plan appears to have worked out well for George and Gaye Margarson with their daughter involved in racing from a young age.
Now an amateur jockey, Margarson has been riding out for her father from the time she was a teenager. Expanding her work to help grow the industry, she is also responsible for the stable’s social media in addition to working for the Injured Jockeys Fund.
But it may be in the voice of a horse where she’s making the most social media impact for the industry.
When Caribbean Spring arrived in the barn in 2016, Margarson was originally supposed to just ride “Bean” for his gallops. It didn’t take long before she was promoted to his regular rider when Bean decided otherwise.
“Mum initially used to ride him and I would do his galloping work, it was only when he nearly ploughed Dad down with mum on board it was agreed that I should have him,” Margarson said. “Ironically, he still attempts to plough Dad down on the odd occasion, much to mine and mum’s amusement. We think Bean sees Dad, aka ‘the Boss,’ as a safety zone. Also, he is the person who feeds him so it’s logical to run to him.”
Margarson wasn’t originally convinced she had the talent to handle Bean on a daily basis but she credits the gelding for making her a better rider and even helping her have the confidence to take out her rider’s license.
“Since beginning to ride him daily I’ve learned to relax and laugh, you can’t get mad at him it gets you nowhere he just gets more excited,” she said. “You just have to let him be him and enjoy it. It’s improved my riding no end and I like to think he loves me as much as I love him. He’s the reason I became confident enough to take my riders license out and when we won on just our third start together, I realized I’d found my horse, an idiot at home but an angel at the races.”
That personality that led others to suggest Margarson start social media accounts for the gelding. It didn’t take long for Bean to become a popular figure with nearly 3,600 followers in the year since she started the account.
While tweeting as Bean every day may seem difficult, Margarson said his personality gives her more than enough content to put together his videos.
“Bean is the [biggest] character I have ever met and growing up on the yard you meet a lot of horses, but we’ve never had one like him,” she said. “He makes creating content very easy, I just point a camera at him and he’ll usually come up with something. My personal favorite is his nodding, especially after he won - he was absolutely full of himself.
“I’m sure there’s plenty of people in racing who have a quirky one that would love to do what we’re doing but it’s not simple, training horses can be serious and not all trainers would necessarily want a naughty horse broadcast across social media but I didn’t really give Dad a choice and there’s no going back now!”
George’s assistant trainer and Margarson’s sister Katie provides the equipment for Bean’s daily videos with Margarson using a GoPro Hero Eight. They originally tried to use a head mount on Margarson’s helmet but she admits it wasn’t the most comfortable. Margarson switched to a chest mount, which she says is not only more comfortable but also provides a better vantage point for viewers.
While Bean provides the content, Margarson handles the hour or two per day of editing. If Bean is feeling fresh, she’ll have more content to go through, though she tries to remember where he created the most “chaos” that day. She says it’s all worth it watching the feedback they get once the video goes live on social media.
“It’s at least one maybe two hours a day, depending on how naughty he was and how good my memory is for remembering where abouts he caused the most chaos,” she joked. “Then coming up with the tweet once the video is compiled. Watching the comments come in is my favorite part, everyone has a different take and a favorite bit.”
Margarson said it comes naturally to tweet in a horse’s voice. With Bean finding something new to do every day, he provides more than enough inspiration for her tweets and when watching the videos, it’s easy to see how she comes up with his tone.
Not only has Bean and his account become popular on social media but he’s become easily recognizable in Newmarket with many strings calling out to him when he goes out for his exercise. It’s not unusual for one of his videos to include another rider talking to him with Margarson saying that it makes Bean’s day to get the attention.
“The accounts been received brilliantly locally a lot of strings in town will shout ‘BEAN’ at us,” she said. “It’s quite hilarious how well known he is even amongst bigger yards. Bean is very pleased with the fame and whenever anyone yells ‘Bean,’ he’ll usually either squeal or bounce. When he won at Chelmsford, I deafened quite a few people, a lot of other racing teams, who had runners in the race congratulated us. One or two actually yelled with me hilariously, which is something that doesn’t often happen.”
It's not unusual for people to bring Bean up with Margarson even when she’s not riding him with many happy to see the horse’s online fame. She jokes that the only complaint came from one trainer who requested she doesn’t tag him in tweets because he couldn’t cope with all the notifications.
Margarson’s ultimate goal with the account was to show the behind-the-scenes of a racehorse’s life but she says it has gone above and beyond even that.
“Seeing what goes on behind the scenes is so important,” she said. “It showcases the brilliant life racehorses lead and not just the group winners, every horse in every yard regardless of their rating is treated like royalty because they’re someone’s pride and joy, regardless of if they win at Ascot or Southwell, a win is a win and everyone in racing loves their horses.
“One of the best things to come of it all was a gentleman who followed Bean shared with me that whenever he got home from work his daughter would ask him what Bean had done today. He was already a racing fan but she’d never shown interest in coming racing, until Bean and now they’re both in the club and have seen him run twice including when he won.”
While Margarson never expected Bean to make as big of an impact as he has, she admits that seeing the happiness the gelding has created makes it all worth it.
“Twitter can be a dark place sometimes but so often people tell me Bean makes their day,” she said. “Sometimes I can’t believe me and Bean created this wonderful buzz of happiness. It’s a joy to run the account but honestly, it’s all Bean!”
And Bean can run a little bit with five wins in a career that began in 2015 with trainer Dermot Weld. The Irish-bred opened 2020 with a win at Chelmsford and was second (with Rosie aboard) at Wolverhampton in February.