Badminton Horse Trials
This for me is one of the biggest and best horse trial competitions of the year where as a spectator you will see the very top riders working in partnership with their horses all trying to win the Badminton trophy.
What Does The Competition Involve?
Horse and rider combinations must complete a Dressage test a Cross Country test and a crucial Show Jumping round.
A wonderful test of accuracy and fine horsemanship, where set Dressage movements are performed with grace and elegance in a 60 by 20 meter arena in front of several Judges who each have a different view point and grade each mark out of 10, the closer to 10 you are for each movement the better.
The Dressage phases can be a challenge for many horses as they often know that the cross country comes after the Dressage and trying to contain a very fit and raring to go horse is not easy.
Examples of movements that can be performed include Shoulder In, Half Pass, Flying Changes, lengthened Strides, Counter Canter as well as many other school movements.
- Cross Country
This involves a course of Huge, solid cross country fences. Some of the fences will require courage and others will require accuracy but all need to be jumped in the correct order and within the allowed time to avoid, elimination occurs for failing to jump an obstacle, three refusals or for a horse fall.
Examples of the type of fences that are well known to Badminton include Corner Fences, Bounce Jumps into water, very challenging angled fences, huge hedges, enormous ditches and not forgetting the pick up trucks.
Height of Fences - 1.30 meters
- Show Jumping
This involves a course of show jumps which must be completed in the correct order and within a set time. Penalties are given for any fence down, refusal to jump and for going over the time limit allowed, failure to jump all the fences or go through the finish markers will result in elimination. The aim of every horse and rider is to go clear around the course and accumulate no time penalties.
Height of Fences - The course is around 1.30 meters and is made up of a mixture of uprights, spreads, double and treble combinations and related distances. The added challenge of the show jumping is that it comes the day after the cross country, so it takes an excellent horse and rider combination to come out and carefully jump over these very easy to knock down fences.
Horses can only compete at Badminton if they have gained sufficient points throughout the previous seasons to qualify, this ensures that both horse and rider are sufficiently prepared to take on this type of challenge.
All horses must be over the age of 7 and be 15 HH high and over and when you see the size of the jumps you'll understand why!
All horses competing are inspected before the competition begins for soundness, health and fitness. During the course of the competition they are also inspected the day after the cross country which ensures that any horse who is not fit and healthy is not allowed to continue on to the show jumping round and is subsequently eliminated from the competition.
Riders - All riders must have gained enough points in order to compete, thus ensuring that they are experienced enough to cope with this type of challenge.
Badminton was first set up in 1949 and was won by Golden Willow. To begin with only horse and rider combinations from England were allowed to compete as the competition was aimed as preparation for overseas competitions. Nowadays Badminton takes entries from all over the world and the Badminton Trophy is the win that everyone is after.
The winner takes home the beautiful Badminton trophy. Armada Dishes are awarded to any rider who has completed Badminton 5 times, this was first achieved in 1964.
Amazing Badminton Feats
- Lucinda Green won Badminton an incredible 6 times and all on different horses.
- Mark Todd lost a stirrup about a third of the way around the cross country course in 1995 and still managed to finish, the horse unfortunately did not pass the veterinary inspection the next day but the pair undeterred returned the next year and won the Badminton Trophy.
- Andrew Nicholson has completed Badminton an amazing 23 times and I have no doubt that this figure will keep rising.
- Badminton Horse Trials has now been going for over 60 years.
The Duke of Beaufort's estate is located approximately 15 miles from Bath and Bristol and is well sign posted for off the M4 around junctions 17 and 18 during the time of the competition.
Badminton Horse Trials Dates are from Wednesday 6th to Sunday the 10th May 2015
- Wednesday 6th May - First Horse Inspection
- Thursday 7th May - Dressage.
- Friday 8th May - Dressage.
- Saturday 9th May - Cross Country.
- Sunday 10th May - Show Jumping
- Address - Badminton GL91DF
- Telephone - +44 (0) 1454 218375
- Email - box firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website - www.badminton-horse.co.uk