This year’s Badminton Horse Trials promises a return to the older style cross-country, but with new safety technology.
Eric Winter’s debut course for the 2017 renewal of the famous four-star event has a distinct look to it. greatly resembling the massive, unadorned tracks of the 1970s.
Unlike many modern courses there is a deliberate lack of superfluous decoration with most fences using massive rustic timber. The course has been described as “chunky”.
Riders head out clockwise this year, with The Lake complex earlier in the track.
The 1980s classic bridge has been reintroduced, followed by a return to the seventies with a revamped of a thick rail over the ditch for the trakehner.
The final obstacle is the winner of a public competition, the Mitsubishi Final Mount. Of 13,000 votes on line nearly 4,000 went for Tots Hanson’s carved saddles.
Badminton, one of eventing’s Grand Slam Events, takes place from May 3 to 7. As usual an array of high-level riders are entered, led by Olympic gold medalist Michael Jung, and silver medalist Astier Nicolas. As well as Jung, there are six previous winners of the event entered: Mark Todd, Paul Tapner, Andrew Hoy, Sam Griffiths, Pippa Funnell, and Oliver Townend.
The draw for the starting order will be shown live on April 18.
Nicholson and Townend will join Eric Winter and Badminton director Hugh Thomas, along with rider Jonty Evans, and trainer Ros Morgan, at a preview evening on April 26 to aid Riding for the Disabled Association in Cirencester. Tickets are £15.
Strzegom earlier this year
The 15th renewal of Poland’s Strzegom Horse Trials will take place more than five weeks earlier than usual, with the venue in Morawa also hosting the FEI European Eventing Championships in August. That means Strzegom is scheduled for May 17 to 21.
Several major changes have been made to the course with the European Champs looming, including the moving of the start-finish line to nearer CCI3 * fence 3. The start and finish are also now much closer to the stables.
The cross-country course, built by event director Marcin Konarski, has been designed to give riders a last chance to familiarize themselves with the topography of the Strzegom course before the European Championships.
Strzegom will host six international competitions: CIC1 *, CCI1 *, CIC2 *, CCI2 *, CCI3 * and CICO3 * – FEI Nations Cup Eventing. The first event of the Nations Cup series is in Montelibretti in Italy, (April 22-23), with Strzegom next up.