Minor changes have been made to the cross-country course planned for last year’s Badminton Horse Trials, which was cancelled last year because of poor underfoot conditions.
With multiple Olympic medallists in the field, the course that director and designer Hugh Thomas had in mind for a pre-Games work-out takes on a different aspect one year on.
Since the cancellation of Badminton in 2012, Thomas has made one or two subtle changes to the track that he designed last year. What would have been an Olympic selection trial for several nations will now be a chance for riders such as Olympic, World and European champion Michael Jung, a Badminton debutante, to show their skills at the world’s premier event, from May 2 to 6.
Reigning Badminton champion Mark Todd has withdrawn NZB Campino after the horse was injured at Fontainebleau, but still has Major Milestone and Ravenstar in the event. His fellow New Zealand rider Alice Montgomery has also withdrawn Gordon. Britain’s Piggy French has taken out Westwood Mariner but still has Jakata in the field, and Australia’s Chris Burton has withdrawn Underdiscussion, but is still to ride Holstein Park Leilani.
William Fox-Pitt is nominated with five mounts – Chilli Morning, Cool Mountain, Lionheart, Oslo, and Parklane Hawk, and Mary King has three in Fernhill Urco, Kings Temptress and Imperial Cavalier. NZ’s Andrew Nicholson has Mr Cruise Control, Avebury, and Nereo. Should Fox-Pitt win, he will complete eventing’s Grand Slam and win $US350,000.
Riders can enter as many horses as are eligible, but are limited to two rides in the event. There is a maximum of 85 starters, and as of today 39 riders remain on the wait list.
As part of the Olympic Legacy programme some of the Greenwich jumps have made guest appearances at other events and Badminton 2013 has one at the Swindon Designer Outlet Sunken Lane. This used to be the Ancient Market Place at the London Event.
The course this year goes the left handed way with clusters of action and long gallops between, where riders will have to carefully judge their pace. There are serious questions all the way round until the riders have the elation of jumping the final obstacle in the main arena.
An animated flyover of the course is shown below.