Badminton blog: until next year …

Jock Paget has a last interview with TVNZ's Garth Bray.
Jock Paget has a last interview with TVNZ’s Garth Bray. © Jane Thompson

A few days have passed since Badminton Horse Trials, and it’s been great sorting through my many photos, reliving the event. 

I was so lucky and privileged to be at the event, and to have the opportunity to be part of the accredited media  contingent. The riders are so fantastic with media, and I enjoy the company of the other journalists and photographers.   It’s also great to be there with the rookies from NZ Media, and help them get the finer details sorted out, give them some background information and hear that they didn’t realise that “eventing was so popular and so exciting!”

Tiana Coudrey and the lovely Ringwood Magister
Tiana Coudrey and the lovely Ringwood Magister.

Hopefully we will see them out again soon.

Apparently the media coverage of Jock’s win back in New Zealand has been phenomenal and that’s great to hear. The English papers did mention it, a small column in the sports section, no photo either. Guess having few Brits in the top 20 meant they were not very interested.

Badminton is a special event. It was even more special with the weather and with the Kiwi successes.  Other highlights for me were:

Favourite horses:  Avebury, Nereo and Ringwood Magister (ridden by Tiana Coudrey from the USA).  Nereo is a true athlete, a machine! Avebury is a very cute pony too, and would probably be my personal favourite of the whole event, just because of his cuteness appeal. It was also fantastic to see Lenamore out in the arena for one last time. His retirement ceremony was very moving, and he looked like he wanted to do a round of showjumping, not just a lap of honour.

Horsey Surprises: Michael Jung’s Sam is quite a plain looking horse. When we first saw Michael on him hacking him out on the Thursday, we were not sure that it was the superstar. But get him in the arena, he’s dynamic! He was also very dynamic after the event, having an absolute “hissy fit” before the prize giving parade.  The groom had him on a lead, Michael was riding him and he was going backwards into the crowd at a great rate. In the end, it was sensibly decided it was best for Michael to go to the prizegiving on his feet.  The commentator quipped that Sam “objected to coming second”.

Lenamore's retirement ceremony was in the main arena.
Lenamore’s retirement ceremony was in the main arena.

Favourite riders:  The Kiwis of course.  All of them. Such stars, so obliging, so polite to all the media, and so popular!

Favourite moment:  When Jock realised he had won. In the media mixed zone, many people turned away from the television, thinking Michael had won. That pole seemed to come down in slow motion, there was a pause and then CHAOS! The members of the Press could not be contained in their restricted zone, and everyone raced to be near Jock in the collecting ring. It was a popular win. Jock was struggling to realise what had happened I think – even at the later press conference he still seemed like a possum in the headlights. When he was handed the glass of champagne (a Badminton tradition), he looked so surprised.

Worst moment: Leaving the event for the last time.  I didn’t want it to be over.

Regrets:  Not getting enough time to spend with people – both new friends and old ones. Not getting enough time to do more shopping! There were so many shops I didn’t even see!

Learnings:  UK cellphone coverage is rubbish. We couldn’t get any internet access the moment we stepped outside the media centre wifi zone. Probably the biggest complaint I heard from many people, including the spectators.

What’s next? I’d like to say Burghley, but can’t see that happening. Plans are afoot to get to the World Equestrian Games in France in 2014, and if our riders keep performing like they are currently …


Jock Paget was a little tense after having to re-present Clifton Promise at the final trot-up.
Jock Paget was a little tense after having to re-present Clifton Promise at the final trot-up.


We did some "pole whispering" while doing the course walk.  It worked!
We did some “pole whispering” while doing the course walk. It worked! 


Jane Thompson

Jane has always had a keen interest in horses, and was an active competitor in equestrian events from her early days until the late 1980s. » Read Jane's profile

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