It’s that time of year again where spectators, competitors and trade stands get ready to make the journey to Badminton Horse Trials. The highly anticipated 3 day event takes place in Gloucestershire where a fun filled five days is in store for all the family.
So, what is Badminton Horse Trials all about?
The main attraction at Badminton is the British Eventing CCI4* event where competitors compete over three days. The Horse Trials are held at Badminton House, which is home to the president of the Horse Trials, the 11th Duke of Beaufort. The competition kicks off with Dressage on the first day. The Dressage test contains 26 movements of varying complexity and is judged by 3 judges sitting at different points of the arena.
The hugely anticipated Cross Country course is tackled on the second day testing both horse and rider’s skills and stamina over the undulating park land. The Cross Country Test is the most physically demanding and exciting phase of the competition. There are about 45 jumping efforts on the technical course which is in its second year of being designed by Italian course designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa. Fences measuring a maximum of 1.20metres in height and drop fences of 2 metres certainly keep spectators on the edge of their seats and offer plenty of nail biting moments.
After the physical demands of the cross country day, horses and riders must demonstrate, speed, accuracy and agility around the infamous show jumping course, where in previous years dreams have come true and some have been shattered over the falling of a pole. The show jumps are up to 1.30 metres high and as wide as 2.30 metres.
The horse and riders run in reverse order with the combination that has the lowest score jumping the course last. The atmosphere is tense as the final horse and riders take their turns in the battle to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trial Title, trophy and prize money. The winner receives £80,000 which has been increased from £65,000 in 2013. Prize money is rewarded down to 20th place.
Grassroots Championships and BYEH
After being introduced 5 years ago, the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships kick starts the event. The Grassroots championships are a ‘mini’ version of the real competition which is contested by lower level riders at British Eventing 90 and 100 levels. Unlike at the main event the Grassroots competition is held over two days, with the vast majority of the Dressage and Show Jumping being held on the first day and the remainder of the Show Jumping and the Cross Country test taking place on the second day. The winner of the Grassroots Championships is then established once all three phases have been completed ahead of the main Badminton competition.
Badminton also hosts the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes (BYEH) which runs on the same day as the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships. The BYEH class is designed for the younger horses that will progress on to have a career on the eventing circuit. The horses are assessed by performing a Dressage test, followed by a Show Jumping round. The horse’s confirmation and type along with suitability and potential are judged. The BYEH title is awarded to the horse with the highest score.
Something for everyone
Alongside watching the exhilarating and breath taking BYEH, Grassroots championships and 4* event there are many other attractions at Badminton which keep the crowds entertained throughout the five days. There are many displays such as:
- Shetland Grand National
- Dressage display
- Parade of Duke of Beaufort’s Hounds
- Band display
- Stallion parade
Proving just as popular as the main event the trade stands are a must for anyone visiting Badminton Horse Trials. The avid shopper can browse approximately 270 individual trade stands which range from:
- Food and wine stands
- Fresh food and locally sourced products
- Saddlery shops galore
- Ladies fashion
- Bespoke riding boots
- Feed manufacturers
- Country clothing
- Dog and pet
- Arena accessories and jumps
- High visibility
- Riding holidays
- Lifestyle and countrywear
- Stable manufacturers
- Home and garden wear
- Hunting and shooting for ladies and gents
- Welfare charity information stands
- Bespoke horsebox makers
What to wear
If your anything like me, the first question which comes to mind is, so what do I wear to such a prestigious event? The answer is very much dependent on the weather. As with most outdoor activities you need to be prepared for all eventualities whilst looking at your best.
Here at Naylors we have put together a few outfits to help you along your way to choosing the perfect outfit. Click here for our what to wear guide.
Badminton is truly an action packed 5 day event for all the family. Have you ever been to Badminton before? What was your favourite part of Badminton Horse Trials? Did you see your hero dazzle during the Dressage, conquer the Cross Country or succeed in the Show Jumping?