The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2016 cross country course was unveiled today in preparation for the 25th running of the event under the car makers title sponsorship. Today’s press briefing, whilst bathed in sunshine, was shorter than normal and the convoy of Mitsubishi 4x4s that drove us around skipped many of the key fences in order to preserve ground conditions in the parkland after the recent wet weather.
Course Designer, Giuseppe Della Chiesa has opted not to switch the direction of the course this year, but has made some significant changes that will keep riders guessing about minute markers prior to their arrival. Most notable perhaps is that the Lake complex features as fences 25-26. It’s probably as late in the course as it’s ever been or ever likely to be without moving the finish from it’s now traditional spot inside the arena. That alone makes planning your ride very important. The last thing you want coming into the lake complex is a tired horse.
All that being said the lake complex is less taxing this year with kinder distances and lines. The main leap in is a straight forward brush fence, not to be under estimated nevertheless.
As ever, the real kicker for the Badminton course is the intense loop of vicarage fields. It includes two combinations that feature ditches or hollows, two water complexes, the formidable Outlander Bank and the return if the infamous Vicarage Vee that requires an almost tight-rope line to be ridden over what must be the trickiest fence ever devised for a cross country course – open ended, hanging rails at an angle over a ditch!
It’s Olympic year, there’s an incredible list of entries, including Michael Jung, plus Blyth Tait making a long awaited return. The course is tough enough to test the very best.
It should be a cracking year!
Here’s Harry Meade and Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes with an detailed look at what’s in store:
I’m looking forward to my first Badminton in 15 years, where I can relax and not have to worry about the website.
More info on the website at: www.badminton-horse.co.uk
More from me on all things Badminton soon.
Here’s a few photos from today.