Don’t you just love this time of year! Anticipation is everywhere, blossoming spring hedgerows provide the promise of summer, the eventing season has started, and the build up to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials is underway as they drip feed just enough information to keep you on the edge of you seat wanting more. In our pursuit of happiness, the course preview, the drawn order, and all the goings on at Badminton House are teased out like good foreplay or the lead up to the Christmas holidays.
With little over a week to go the main event and climax are in sight, and the excitement continues as we all eagerly watch the entry and waitlist to see who will make it there and who won’t.
Rio Olympics considerations aside, this looks to be an incredibly exciting year at Badminton, with the welcome return of some familiar faces, and a more open field than we’ve seen for some time.
This plucky New Zealander won a hoard of gold medals before taking a career break, and is returning to Badminton for the first time since 2003. He’s been in the top 5 five times including 2nd on three occasions. I’m not sure this is the year he’ll win, but it will be great seeing him back in the saddle at Badminton.
Dan is another New Zealand Olympian who has been absent from Badminton for a few years now. I’m looking froward to seeing Dan back at the big events.
The man, the myth, the legend is returning to Badminton with his all conquering horse, Sam, with whom he so very nearly won 3 years ago. He’d have to be the favourite to win in this field.
Those I Will Miss:
I can’t remember a year at Badminton without William Fox-Pitt and his withdrawal this week is a real blow for all concerned.
This little grey horse has always been one of my favourites ever since I saw him take a cheeky side step of the open corners at Badminton back in 2010. Since then he’s gone on to win plenty of accolades and according to Andrew (Nicholson) is best ridden “like you stole him”. His retirement is well deserved I just hope his stable mate Nereo is in top form.
The Wait List Fairy Tales:
Alice has been on a world crusade to ride Fernhill Present at all 6 CCI****, and Badminton is the last on their list.
Ben is eventing’s version of Robbie Williams – good looking, personable, talented, and a bit cheeky. Returning to the saddle after a bout of cancer treatment it would be great to see him back at Badminton.
UPDATE: Both Ben & Alice made it off the wait list and are scheduled a run at Badminton.
And To Win:
There are so many in the line up I’d like to see win, but especially Andrew Nicholson. He’s completed 35 times (a record), he came close in 2004 in seriously muddy conditions, and after the all the work he puts in, it would be a shame to see him retire without a win at Badminton. He’s such a lovely, genuine horseman I think he deserves it. Here’s an interview I did with him a few years ago about Badminton:
Are you excited yet? Badminton is probably the best fun you can have with your clothes on the first week of May.
Go if you can! All the details are here: