Badminton Horse Trials is one of the toughest and most exciting equestrian events in the world. Horses and riders complete the competition with a different discipline or phase each day. Horses and riders must complete a dressage test demonstrating Obedience, Discipline, Accuracy and Elegance. They need to be fit and athletic to complete a 4 mile cross country ride jumping several solid man-made and natural obstacles within a set time. Finally, they must complete a course of show-jumps designed to test their agility and accuracy at speed. This years event will take place from Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th May 2020. The event is staged within the beautiful grounds of the Badminton Estate in South Gloucestershire (UK).
Badminton Horse Trials is one of the major six, five-star rated horse trials including Kentucky Three-Day Event in the USA, Burghley Horse Trials in the UK, Luhmühlen Horse Trials in Germany, Pau Horse Trials in France and Adelaide International Three-Day event in Australia.
Badminton was first held in 1949 by the 10th Duke of Beaufort in order to let British riders train for international events, and was advertised as “the most important horse event in Britain”. It was the second three-day event held in Britain, with the first being its inspiration the 1948 Olympics. The first Badminton had 22 horses from Britain and Ireland start, and was won by Golden Willow. Eight of the 22 starters failed to complete the cross-country course. Badminton was the home of the first European Championship in 1953.
Winners from the Southern Hemisphere
Bill Roycroft (Australia) on Our Solo (1960), Laurie Morgan (Australia) on Salad Days (1961), Mark Todd (New Zealand) on Southern Comfort III (1980), Mark Todd (New Zealand) on Horton Point (1994), Mark Todd (New Zealand) on Bertie Blunt (1996), Andrew Hoy (Australia) on Moonfleet (2006), Lucinda Fredericks (Australia) on Headley Britannia (2007), Mark Todd (New Zealand) on NZB Land Vision (2011); Jonathan “Jock” Paget (New Zealand) on Clifton Promise(2013). Sam Griffiths (Australia) on Paulank Brockagh (2014). Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) on Nereo (2017), Jonelle Price (New Zealand) on Classic Moet (2018).
Wednesday is the first day of the event, with the amateur eventing and the young event horse classes taking place. This international event continues with Dressage on the Thursday and Friday where visitors can enjoy expert dressage displays during the lunch break on both days from around 12:30 pm.
The shopping at Badminton is epic with over 500 trade stands catering to all budgets. You can purchase anything from a spa bath, jewellery, clothing, kitchenware to all things horsey for you and your horse. There are book signing opportunities, with a chance to meet your favourite riders and you never know who you might bump into. Many of our clients have met riders out on cross country and they are generally more than obliging to join in a photo.
Snaffle Travel have been taking groups to Badminton since 2015 and each year it is always a surprise who is going to win this prestigious event.
The cross-country course designer is Eric Winter and it will be his fourth year as the course designer in 2020. He likes to change things around and it will be interesting to see what we he has instore for the 2020 Olympic year. Many competitors will be using this as a final trial for selection for the Tokyo Olympics in July 2020.
Lucinda Green* offers a 2-hour cross country course walk on the Friday and this proves very popular and not to be missed. She sets a cracking pass, with her great sense of humour and her experience and knowledge of Badminton. This makes for an informative and enjoyable experience. *subject to confirmation each year.
Cross country day on the Saturday is the most popular and it is recommended to get their early as the crowds swell. The cross-country stewards take their jobs very seriously and look very smart and typically English in their tweed and bowler hats.
The final horse inspection, trot-up is held on the driveway in front of Badminton House on Sunday morning at 8 am.
On Show jumping day the competition starts in reverse order from 11 am and the top 20 compete after 2 pm. It is always a nice surprise to see who will be the dignitary to present the prizes to the winners at this prestigious event. We have seen Camilla Parker Bowles, Princess Anne, the Duke of Gloucester and many others over the years.
It will be an exciting year in 2020 being an Olympic year with all the world’s best eventers converging on Badminton to ply for a spot for their respective countries.
Provisional Timetable for 2020: https://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/provisional-timetable/
Snaffle Travel runs tours to Badminton Horse Trials most years and we only have a few vacancies left for our tour in 2020. We will be running another tour in 2021 if you miss out. Get in touch to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.snaffletravel.com.au
References: Wikipedia and Badminton website www.badminton-horse.co.uk
Photos: Snaffle Travel