Badminton beckons for Germany’s Ingrid Klimke

Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob, winners of the first leg of FEI Classics in Pau, and currently second on the leaderboard, are now set to tackle the fourth leg of the series at Badminton.
Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob, winners of the first leg of FEI Classics in Pau, and currently second on the leaderboard, are now set to tackle the fourth leg of the series at Badminton. © Trevor Holt/FEI

German Olympic eventer Ingrid Klimke is bidding to become the first from her country to win Britain’s historic Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, which get under way on Thursday.

The daughter of revered Olympic Dressage champion Dr Reiner Klimke, Ingrid Klimke already has the four-star Pau leg of the FEI Classics under her belt, and will ride her winning horse from that event, 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Horseware Hale Bob, at Badminton.

Only two riders from Continental Europe have won the world’s oldest horse trials: Hans Schwarzenbach (Switzerland) in 1951 and Nicolas Touzaint (France) in 2008. Klimke finished second (on Sleep Late in 2006), as have her compatriots Andreas Dibowski (2007) and Michael Jung (2013), but the German national anthem has never rung out on Badminton’s hallowed turf in the event’s 66-year history.

Klimke, who is second on the FEI Classics 2014/2015 leaderboard, as an excellent chance of rectifying this omission.

Another rider bidding to make history is world number two William Fox-Pitt. No stallion has won a CCI4* in modern times, but the gentlemanly Chilli Morning, holder of individual bronze medals at world and European level, has the flair and the temperament to give Fox-Pitt a record 14th CCI4* victory and a second Mitsubishi Trophy to join the one he won in 2004 on Tamarillo.

The last British Badminton winner was Oliver Townend in 2009 (on Flint Curtis). He came close last year, finishing runner-up on Armada, on whom he is entered this time. The 16-year-old Spanish-bred gelding is a brilliant cross-country horse and a veteran of numerous CCI4*s under Townend and, previously, Andrew Nicholson (NZ).

Nicholson has won Burghley five times, plus Pau, Kentucky and Luhmühlen, but victory at Badminton has eluded this master horseman despite a record 33 completions over 30 years of trying. This time he’s back with the wonderfully consistent Nereo, third here in 2013, plus Calico Joe.

Nicholson’s very first visit to Badminton was as groom to Mark Todd when he won, at his first attempt, on Southern Comfort 35 years ago. Now, nearly 40 years separates the youngest rider in the field, 20-year-old newcomer Niklas Bschorer (GER), riding Tom Tom Go 3, and 59-year-old Todd, who went on to win three more times – in 1994, 1996 and, during his ‘second career’, in 2011. This time he rides Leonidas ll and Oloa, on whom he is drawn last of the field.

Sam Griffiths with the hard-fought Badminton Trophy.
Sam Griffiths with last year’s Badminton Trophy. © Mike Bain

Defending champion, Sam Griffiths (AUS), is back with his winning mare, Paulank Brockagh, plus the hugely experienced Happy Times, on whom he was third at Burghley last year.

The 2013 winners, Jock Paget (NZL) and Clifton Promise, runners-up at Burghley last year, will also be in action, and Paget has a second ride on Clifton Lush. Also for New Zealand is Kentucky runner-up Tim Price riding Ringwood Sky Boy, Craig Nicolai and Just Ironic, Lucy Jackson with Willy Do, and Olympic team members Jonelle Price with Classic Moet and The Deputy, and Caroline Powell and Onwards and Upwards.

The star-studded field includes four more former winning riders. For Britain, three-time victor Pippa Funnell (2002, 2003 and 2005) rides Redesigned and Second Supreme and Mary King (1992 and 2000) has her home-bred mare Kings Temptress, winner of Kentucky (USA) in 2011.

For Australia, Andrew Hoy (2006) has taken on Lanfranco TSF from Bettina Hoy (GER) (she is entered, on Designer), and also rides Rutherglen, and Paul Tapner (2010) is first to go on Kilronan and later has Indian Mill.

About 80 horses from 12 nations are expected to start for what promises to be a thrilling fourth leg of the FEI Classics 2014/2015.


FEI Classics 2014/2015 Leaderboard (after 3 out of 6 events)
1 Michael Jung (GER) 15 points
2 Ingrid Klimke (GER) 15
3 Jessica Manson (AUS) 15
4 Tim Price (NZL) 12
5 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12
6 Megan Jones (AUS) 12
7 Arnaud Boiteau (FRA) 10
8 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 8
9 Jonelle Price (NZL) 8
10 Katja Weinmann (AUS) 8


FEI Classics 2014/2015 calendar
1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) – 23-26 October 2014
2 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) – 13-16 November 2014
3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) – 23-26 April 2015
4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) – 7-10 May 2015
5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) – 18-21 June 2015
6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) – 3-6 September 2015


This article has been written by a contributor to

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