The weather and the crowds came out today for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials kick-off. I love first inspection day especially when the sun comes out. The anticipation of the whole event becomes very evident as the general public get their first taste of Badminton, watching pristine horses and riders trot-up in front of Badminton House. I went down to the stables a few hours beforehand and people were already gathering and saving their places on the railings for a ringside seat.
As each year passes riders’ dress code is becomes evermore serious with many now seeking sponsorship for their trot-up outfits. Paul Tapner had been kitted out by Claudio Lugli and was sporting a shirt with pug dogs all over it. A few of the women wore red and wore it well, including Alice Dunsdon, Camilla Spiers & Emily King.
The most elegant perhaps were Kirsty Johnston in a diamond patterned dress with black knee length boots and the wonderfully stylish Bettina Hoy wearing a navy jacket with cream piping.
Quite a few of men were just as stylishly turned out. Alex Hua Tian wouldn’t have looked out of place attending the San Francisco Opera, and I thought Dan Jocelyn looked pretty sharp, almost Daniel Craig-like.
The non-horsey friend I was with commented on how the horses ranged in shape and size (as did the riders). We have had tall men with short horses, big horses with short men, and the same with the women.
I’m always a sucker for a good looking grey and today’s ‘horse to take home’ was Clarke Johnstone’s Balmoral Sensation.
The crowds were in particularly good spirits today, and a huge cheer went up when a number of riders got accepted causing a few horses to double barrel the air in excitement. The biggest cheer rang out for Ben Hobday who is making his reappearance after a bout of cancer treatment.
The good news is all those that presented were accepted.
The dressage kicks off the competition ‘proper’ tomorrow at 9:30 GMT. If you’re not a fan of sunshine and the great outdoors then you’re in luck as the dressage phase is due to be live streamed, otherwise get yourself to Badminton and enjoy the sunshine and shiny horses.
Here are the important links: