As any eventing fan will probably tell you it’s Badminton week! it’s Badminton week! And so the annual pilgrimage begins. The week that many non-horsey husbands & wives are either blissfully ignorant of, or are only too well aware makes most eventing followers gooey eyed, and their credit cards quiver!
All the top events have a certain something different that makes them appealling. I couldn’t put my finger on what it is about Badminton – the history, the setting, the shopping – but what ever it is I still rate it as the best buzz of all the big events, including the olympics.
If today is anything to go by it’s going to be very wet and very busy. As you’d expect Tuesday down in “the park” was all about getting ready. Tradestand holders were all busying themselves fluffing and puffing their stands. The event’s site staff were merrily running round with signage, bogs & bins. Everbody else took shelter under canvas!
All afternoon the roads around Badminton and the site were clogged with horseboxes, caravans, trailers and cars, as the world, his wife, uncle, aunt and all manner of distant cousins decended on Badminton to take part in the greatest show on earth. The enlarged campsite has been fully booked for some time, the same goes for the Grandstand. If you are planning to go on Sunday and want a grandstand seat, you may want to hunt around the net for any not-needed tickets.
And all afternoon the rain came down – It really must be Badminton week. Hopefully tomorrow will prove it drains quickly at Badminton (given a chance) I’d be really surprised if the event suffers from hard going this year.
So what can your average eventing spectator expect from this year’s event?
Much of same and a little more seems to be the answer. Tradestands and shopper’s choice doesn’t seem to show any signs of reducing on previous years. The course overall is very similar to previous years, there are a few notable adrenaline pumpers on the course though, most notably the old vicarage vee (take a look at the course thingy on the Badminton site). It looks like even those of you not able to make it this week (shame on you!) will have plenty to see, hear and follow via the event’s website and the bbc. (live video and radio are both going to be available via the net).
The entries list looks more “who’s who” than “who’s not”, especially compared to Kentucky which had very little representation outside of North America. Any how all this is good news for Badminton Pilgrims who can expect to see all the old favourites and few of the new up and coming contenders pitch their wits against Hugh Thomas and his somewhat deceptively tough cross country course.
Peronally I’d like to see Caroline Powell do well on Lenamore, and isn’t it about time we saw Andrew Nicholson go last and clear in the show jumping! Apart from any other obvious choices, the ones to watch closely on the cross country are Andrews Nicholson & Hoy, Harry Meade (Midnight Dazzler) and Matt Ryan.
And just for kicks chuckle to yourself as you realise the drawn order reads less like the roll call for the Ministry of Silly Girls Names than previous years!
I’ll try and bring you more news and hopefully some photos and video over the coming days.