114 entries, 5 days of seat gripping, adrenaline pumping entertainment that is Badminton Horse Trials. Yes, it is that time of the year when the stars of the eventing world compete for 1st prize! Not to mention the countless other prizes! Starting on May 1st and running through to Sunday 5th the world renowned Mitsubishi Motors Badminton 3 day event will take place!
A little history to eventing…
New to eventing or just wanting to brush up on the history behind the sport? Read on! Badminton Horse Trials is an event which runs over three consecutive days where each competitor will perform in each discipline – those disciplines being dressage, show jumping and cross country. By competing in all three disciplines, horse and rider need to be athletic, agile and accurate in their riding ability. Each sphere will push the horse and rider to their maximum – the competition is tough!
Three day events such as Badminton are graded using stars. The lower the star rating the lower level the competition is. The highest star an event can be awarded is 5. The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials is one of six 5 star events. However, Badminton has been noted as the longest running event in the history of eventing, and possible the most noteworthy event too!
The first phase of Badminton, as well as all events, is the dressage test. Dressage will test obedience, accurateness and elegance. Judges will mark the test using an overall percentage for good movements. This score, although not used officially, allows spectators and other competitors to get a rough overview on how the test went. In addition, the test will also be judged using a penalty system. This score will be carried forward to the next phase.
The second phase of Badminton, and any other event, is Cross Country. In the eyes of most people, the cross country phase is the most gripping and exciting. Designed by Eric Winter, competitors must tackle 33 obstacles over approximately 6600m. With an optimum time to consider, this phase is sure to test athleticism and stamina!
The scoring works alongside the optimum time allocated. Penalty points are given at 0.4 per second after the optimum time has expired. Penalties are also given for a single refusal (20 points), double refusal (40 points), and a third refusal is elimination from the competition. Penalties are also given for activation of the frangible devices instilled into the fences. If the fence collapses on impact 11 penalty points are given. Riders must also ride inside the flags on each obstacle (missing a flag can also result in 15 penalty points!) There is no doubt about it, the scoring system can be somewhat confusing in this phase!
Show jumping is the last phase of the competition that tests speed and agility from both horse and rider alike. The jumps measure 1.30 in height and almost double in width! Competitors must be extra careful to keep all the poles in place as well as staying within the time limit allocated!
Penalties are given out for refusals and knock downs (4 points each). Elimination will occur if the competitor is unseated, or if the horse makes more than one refusal.
The big names in the game!
Whether you’re going to watching from the side-lines, or keeping up to date with the live stream, make sure you keep an eye out for the big names in the game!
Riding for Great Britain we have the likes of Pippa Funnell with 4 potential rides, and William Fox-Pitt with 2 horses to choose from. Oliver Townend is also entered along with the Tina Cook who has challenged this track 16 times previously! Last but certainly not least is the 2016 Olympic Team member Kitty King, who will be riding the 10 year old Gelding Vendredi Biats!
With the amount of talent entered this year, it is impossible to guess what the result may be! R&R wish all the riders competing in the event the very best of luck!