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Special day for grassroots riders at Badminton

May 7, 2010

The final of the inaugural Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Grassroots Championship, held for the first time at Badminton took place on the Friday normally reserved for the second day of the CCI4* dressage.

Ending a 61-year tradition, Badminton was moved along a day to culminate on Monday May 3, instead of Sunday (which is the normal three-day format); this allowed for the Grassroots Championships competitors to complete, before the main action at the International event started.

British Eventing teamed up with Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in order to take the existing Grassroots series, which had been running for five years, to a new level and create something enjoyable that many riders entering the sport would want to aspire to, and also to recognise the growth of the sport at this recreational level.

Cambridge University Veterinary student Jack Day, from Leicestershire, took the BE100 title on his horse Smoke and Mirrors. Jack was closely followed by Elaine Wilson, from Hampshire, with Weston Moonshine to take second place; third place was taken by Hertfordshire-based, young-horse producer Kylie Roddy, with a former racehorse, Laurentian Lad.

Northern riders dominated the BE90 Championship; the winner was 24-year-old medical rep, Amy Dixon from Cumbria on her ride Maid in Holland. Newark-based Karen Baugh took second place with Spark of Talent and was closely followed by another Cumbrian rider, Beth Sutcliffe, who enjoyed third place with Wodka Lime.

The prize giving was a memorable occasion for the participants in the main arena at 5pm after the CCI4* dressage tests had finished for the day. Prizes were presented to the top ten placed riders in each section by Lance Bradley from Mitsubishi Motors and British Eventing's Chairman Alex Fox, in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

Bradley said: "This is just what we hoped for when we thought of the idea of a grassroots competition - the excitement and enthusiasm of the riders has been wonderful to see. It also goes a long way to reinforce Mitsubishi Motors' support of equestrianism at all levels and to meet and encourage many of the people who use our products."

British Eventing's Chief Executive Mike Etherington-Smith said of the event: "To have had the Grassroots Championships at Badminton really was an incredible experience; both the Badminton and Mitsubishi teams created a great Championship environment for the competitors and their supporters. This really is a fantastic way to celebrate the success of riders at this level and long may it continue."

The top three riders from both the BE100 and BE90 enjoyed the full Badminton experience and were whisked away in a fleet of Mitsubishi vehicles to Badminton's media centre for a press conference.

There were many fence and prize sponsors who supported the Grassroots Championship; HSBC, Natural Animal Feeds (NAF), Bretherton Coach Works, Saffery Champness, Danco, Wadworth & Co, the Equine Sports Massage Association and Retraining of Racehorses (ROR).



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