If you haven’t been to Badminton before or are new to this country eventing lark here’s the low down. We are so fortunate to have this prestigious event right on our doorstep and as far as horse trials go Badminton is one of the most prestigious three-day-events in the world. Riders work for years for an opportunity to compete amongst the best of the best. As one of the toughest events in the equestrian calendar Badminton has much to thrill those who attend. Each day consists of a new set of skills that the competitors must master testing speed, agility and precision.
The first test is dressage, dressage can be beautiful and elegant but it also demonstrates great partnership between horse and rider as obedience and accuracy are equally important as elegance.
The second phase, the cross-country, consists of a four mile course of gruelling jumps that quicken the heartbeat of any on looker. Not only that but riders have to complete these against the clock. Dangerous and breath takingly difficult a walk of the course opens one’s eyes to how brave and skilled these riders are.
Finally the Show-Jumping round where agility, accuracy and speed are tested. By this time in the competition one could be forgiven in thinking that it is possible for some to romp home easily, but one false move in the show-jumping round can seal the fate of many who have previously been up in the ranks.
This year promises to be an exciting year and Sam Griffths and Paulank Brockagh return to defend their titles. They are not alone as William Fox Pitt, Pippa Funnell, Mark Todd and Mary King are also due to return. So despite this year seeing the smallest numbers of horses entered with so many well-known names the competition is sure to be fierce a must see for any spectator.
Sensible dressing is a must as despite it being May it can be variable and it is likely that the warm weather that brought you out to walk the course will turn into an enormous downpour. Last Year I made just that mistake, so take it from someone who was soaked to the skin that layering and waterproofs are a must. As is walking the course, it’s not until you are up close and personal with some of those jumps that you truly realise the enormity of it all.
There is so much to take it you’d be forgiven for missing the shopping and food villages but with so much to see for all it’s not just the horsey folk who could romp home with a bargain. The shopping village is fantastic, with so much to see no matter what you are into there is sure to be something to suit your taste and pocket. Makes sure you pop into see us on stand 161 our new collections are in and a warm welcome awaits you.