Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Badminton 2010 | A Distant Memory

As we prepare to batten down the hatches for the briefest of Christmas breaks before the onslaught of the January ticket sales, we thought we'd share some of our favourite memories from this year's event, so here's a photo slide show:



In particular, look out for the photo that accompanies the caption:

"If Mark Todd can ride Grass Valley around Badminton, 
he'll make it on anything"

We look forward to welcoming you all back in 2011 and don't forget to book your tickets online from January....

Season's Greetings!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

FUNDRAISER’S MOVING TRIBUTE TO BRAVE SISTER

Charlotte Dunn

VOLUNTEER fundraiser, Emily Drummond-Dunn, 23, had always supported cancer charities but her reasons became much more personal when her 19-year-old sister, Charlotte, was diagnosed with the disease. 
Emily, a former groom with event rider and The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2010 winner Paul Tapner, recently took part in a charity event to celebrate Cancer Research UK being chosen as Badminton’s 2011 charity of the year.

Emily joined a cancer surgeon, a research scientist, a young cancer survivor, fundraisers and top rider William Miflin - who has battled cancer himself - at one of the most famous jumps on the Badminton course to celebrate. 
“After my sister was diagnosed, I wanted my fundraising to involve horses and Paul suggested doing a charity course walk at Badminton 2010 in support of Cancer Research UK”. 
Emily, who worked with Paul Tapner for two years and helped groom the winning horse at Badminton 2010, added: “The course walk was a huge success and Paul plans to do another walk at Badminton 2011 and hopes to raise even more for that great cause.” 
 “One-in-three people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives but more people are beating the disease than ever before and Cancer Research UK’s work is at the heart of that progress. 
“It motivates me to know that we are making a difference”.  

Monday, 13 December 2010

Preparing For The Chaos Of The January Sales

More Meetings!
November & December have been busy months at Badminton – lots of meetings about the ‘behind the scenes’ organisation, some fence building, the appointment of contractors – mostly the same but some new – and preparations for the usually chaotic January, when the Box Office opens, Trade Stands are finalised and the New Year brings thoughts of Spring!

One of the most important contractors for visitors is undoubtedly the firm that provides and services the loos! Here we are making a change to Portable Toilets Ltd, who have vast experience at music festivals but whose first big equestrian event this will be – lets hope they hit the ground running in April. Our site manager Harry Verney does the same job at numerous other events around the country – festivals, motor sport etc – so he was able to advise which firms might be able to cope with our large cowds.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

ALICE JUMPS FOR JOY AT BADMINTON



Alice Beard & Cancer Research UK at Badminton

CIRENCESTER schoolgirl Alice Beard, 11 - who owes her life to an anonymous American donor after being diagnosed with leukaemia - took part in the charity event at Badminton in memory of her mum, Susan, who recently died of cancer. 
Cancer Research UK has been chosen as the 2011 charity of the year for one of the world’s most prestigious equestrian events, The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Alice joined a cancer surgeon, a research scientist, Gloucestershire fundraisers and top rider William Miflin, who has battled cancer himself, at one of the most famous jumps on the Badminton course to celebrate. 
After being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2002, Alice suffered a relapse and had a bone marrow transplant in 2004. Doctors trying to find a match for Alice had to look across the Atlantic when their search in this country proved futile. 
Susan Beard, 51, was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma - a cancer of the lympathic system - in 2001. She was treated successfully on three occasions, but last July the cancer returned. 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Progress In Safety Initiatives Continues To Gather Pace

Frangible Fences| Further Innovation
Badminton has always been pleased to help the industry and sport of eventing with any new initiatives, particularly those related to the safety of horse and rider, and has implemented frangible pin technology for many years now, on numerous cross country fences.

As technology and innovation in this area gathers pace, Hugh Thomas and many other course designers have played a wider role in helping the industry improve it's overall understanding of the issues related to this aspect of safety on the cross country course and the challenges it brings to the sport.

In this short video, Hugh discusses the recent international seminar on these types of 'deformable' fence, where the industry is making some headway in standardisation, and what some of this means for the sport.


Monday, 1 November 2010

Looking Forward to Badminton 2011

Paul Tapner with Inonothing
So now our website and all of our energies are looking forward to 2011, not backward to 2010. In one last look back as the European eventing season comes to an end in Pau this week we are mightily relieved to hear that Inonothing, the brilliant Mitsubishi Motors Trophy winner in 2010 is recovering well from chipping a bone in his stifle at the World Equestrian Games; he is unlikely to be back to defend his title in 2011 but should be competing again later next year.

Our tradestands are starting to return their application forms for next year and we are finalising agreements with all of our contractors. We have said goodbye to Brian Higham, Stable Manager and Carol Alexander, Box Office Manager but happily both are very much around to help with advice when needed, as it undoubtedly will be! Vicky Iddon has taken over in the Box Office, all the 2011 prices have been fixed and the team are busy testing the ticketing kiosk to make sure all will be ready for it to open in the New Year.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

7 Months To Badminton 2011 And Only Days to WEG Eventing

Many More Planning Meetings To Go!
It seems like only last week we were 'breaking down' the 2010 event, and even though Badminton Horse Trials 2011 is some 7 months away, we're already nose to the grindstone in preparation for next year.

Many planning meetings are held in September which vary from Traffic to Loos and nearly everything in between! This week we have had our Campsite Managers, Andrew and Sasha Munro Seear down for the day and have been discussing ways in which to improve the campsite and hopefully find some more space! At one point yesterday the whole office were marching around a field trying to imagine what it would look like with tents and caravans and the best place for loos & showers!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Badminton Win Sets Tapner On Path To WEG

Paul Tapner At Highclere
This year's Badminton winner, Paul Tapner, has continued to enjoy more success both in and out of the saddle since May, and is now set to take his Badminton horse, Inonothing, to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky later this month, in what he describes as a good shot at the medals. We caught up with him Highclere Horse Trials, where most UK based WEG hopefuls were giving their horses a last preparation run for Games. Here's what Paul had to say:






Notice how fellowAustralian, and previous Badminton winner, Andrew Hoy, tries to get into the picture!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Extended Dates for Badminton Horse Trials 2011 - Thursday 21st - Monday 25th April

An extra shopping day for 2011
Dates for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2011 have been extended, adding an additional days shopping and competition to the start of the event. The event will now officially start on Thursday 21st April with exhibitors opening their stands on first inspection day for the first time.

Due to a packed international event calendar, clashes with Rolex Kentucky CCI****, and TV scheduling contractual commitments this means Badminton runs over the Easter weekend in 2011. The final day of the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship will also run on this Thursday giving spectators a chance to see many of the best amateur riders tackle a specially built cross country course in a bid to be crowned Grassroots Champion 2011 before the formalities of the main event get underway with the first horse inspection.

Hugh Thomas explained, "The reasons for this date are related to the international eventing calendar, in that it would be impossible for us to clash with the 4 star event in Kentucky, who cannot move in 2011 because of other longstanding commitments in Kentucky Horse Park. We are committed by our international TV contract to finish broadcasting on a Bank Holiday Monday and this leaves Easter as the only other weekend on which this is possible which we fully understand is not desirable for everyone. Kentucky has agreed to change their date in the next clashing year, which will be 2016."

Grassroots Championship Cross Country on the Thursday
With regard to extending the dates of the event Hugh went on to explain, "After extensive consultation with Exhibitors, we have decided to open the event to the public one day earlier than usual, i.e. on Thursday 21st April 2011. Tradestands will be open for business on this day, together with public catering and other facilities (though not the Members or Portcullis ringside marquees). On this day, the cross country course will be open to the public as well as the riders; the First Horse Inspection will take place and most importantly we will hold the Show Jumping, Cross Country and Prizegiving for the Grassroots Championships, started here this year."

A much lower entry fee will be charged to the public for this Thursday and it will be included 'free' in season tickets.

CCI**** Cross Country action on the Easter Sunday will start a little later than normal to accommodate a special church service held on the showground in the morning by the Rector of Badminton, open to everyone attending the horse trials.

The dates for 2011 are Thursday 21st - Monday 25th April 2011.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Badminton Horse Trials 2010 Winner, Paul Tapner: One Week on....

We visited Paul Tapner at his yard in Wickstead Equestrian Centre, Highworth nr. Swindon today to see how he was enjoying his first week as the  2010 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Champion. Here's what Paul had to say about his slightly crazy week:


Monday, 3 May 2010

Badminton Horse Trials 2010 Winner, Paul Tapner: "This win means so much"

Paul Tapner has won his first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. He went into the showjumping arena with a fence in hand, but his ride, Inonothing, never looked like touching a fence.

Andreas Dibowski and Euroridings Butts Leon kept their clean sheet in the final phase to move up to second, while Daisy Berkeley and Spring Along enjoyed their best Badminton result to date to take third.

“As soon as I first started eventing, Badminton has been my aim. It doesn’t get much better than this,” he said.

Paul, who grew up in Sydney but who has been permanently based in the UK since 2003, admitted that Inonothing failed to impress him as a youngster.

“He had some very special behavioural problems back then – in fact his nickname is ‘Spinhead’. After I rode him in his first novice competition in 2003, it went so disastrously wrong that I almost phoned up his owner, Jenny Waaler, and told that I didn’t want to ride him anymore. But something held me back from making that phone call. And now look where we are.”

Mary King’s one rail down on Imperial Cavalier dropped her from second to fourth and allowed Germany’s Andreas Dibowski and Euroridings Butts Leon to rise up into second place.

This is a third consecutive runners-up position for this combination, who occupied the same spot in Luhmühlen and Pau last year.

“Normally if someone told me I would be second in a competition like this I would be very happy, but I think someday I would like to win a four-star,” said Andreas.

Daisy Berkeley (née Dick) and the irrepressible Spring Along jumped an immaculate clear to rise from sixth to third.

“He’s like fine wine – he gets better with age,” said Daisy of the 17-year-old.

Caroline Powell and Lenamore finished fifth with a double jumping clear, while vet James Robinson rolled just one pole to drop from fourth to sixth.

AUDIO INTERVIEW: PAUL TAPNER

FULL RESULTS

BIOGRAPHY: PAUL  TAPNER

Watch Paul Tapner's Winning Show Jumping Round.

Watch Paul Tapner's Cross Country Round (on Stormhill Michael)

Looking back at yesterday's cross-country

Yesterday's cross-country test certainly provided the thrills and spills that the crowd came for.

Of the 81 starters that set off round Hugh Thomas's cross-country course at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, there were 57 finishers. Of these, 42 combinations jumped clear and four came home inside the time.

The final 20 have just started showjumping. There is less than a fence in hand between the top four, and just 8.4 penalties separating the top 10.

So near, yet so far

Sian Wynne Morris was only a hair’s breadth from enjoying a Badminton debut most riders can only dream of. She was one of only four riders to finish inside the time yesterday around a cross-country course that caused problems for even seasoned Badminton campaigners – like Andrew Nicholson, who had walked the course with Sian and advised her which lines she should take.


“Andrew told me to stick to my plan and ride positively, so that’s what I did,” said Sian, who has previously completed Burghley on two occasions and Pau CCI**** once before with the 14-year-old Just Appeal.

Nevertheless Sian admitted to being surprised at finishing inside the optimum.

“I set out hoping I’d be near it and he’s got a good gallop, but as I went round I kept looking down at my watch and thinking: ‘Wow, I’m well up there with my minute markers,’” she said.

Sadly, Just Appeal sustained an overreach yesterday that prevented him from showjumping.

“But we’ll be back for Burghley,” said Sian, who has just finished setting up her own yard in North Wales.

Seven horses withdrawn overnight, but leading contenders all pass horse inspection

The leading contenders all passed this morning’s final trot-up leaving Paul Tapner, Mary King and Simone Deitermann at the top of the leaderboard going into this afternoon’s final showjumping phase at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Seven horses have been withdrawn overnight.


Sian Wynne Morris’s Just Appeal (31st), Sacha Pemble’s I’ve Been Dun (32nd), Geoff Curran’s Balladeer Alfred(pictured) (49th) and Selina Bodiliy (44th) were not presented, while Annabel Wigley’s Black Drum (18th), Sara Burdess’s Shiver St George (42nd) and Nicola Malcolm’s McFly (54th) were held and then withdrawn from the holding box.

Showjumping starts at 11am for the lower placed riders, followed by a parade of competitors at 1.45pm. Showjumping for the top 20 will begin at 2pm.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

From the horse’s mouth – what did the riders think?

We caught up with the movers and shakers after their cross-country rounds:


Paul Tapner, the current leader with Inonothing: “I knew he was fit enough and experienced enough to come here and jump a clear round inside the time, but as I landed from the second-last fence and I kicked on, he said: ‘Actually Dad, I’m a little bit tired,’, so I just let him cruise on up the hill to the finish.”

Mary King, lying second on Imperial Cavalier: “He felt so much stronger than he did when he last came here in 2008. I should have won then, but we fell at the second last."
On Kings Mistress, who retired at the HS1 Corners [fence 15ab]: “We had a bad jump at the Countryside Complex [fence 14abcd] and knowing that the corners were so influential I should have taken the long route, but my competitive spirit got the better of me. That was the first cross-country fault she’s ever had.”

Simone Deitermann, third on Free Easy NRW: “The first 10 fences were not so good as he gets quite strong, but after that she settled down and jumped really well. I was very pleased.”

Andrew Nicholson, lying 15th on Nereo: “He’s a young horse doing his first four-star. I deliberately didn’t set out too fast as I wanted some petrol left in the tank at the end. I thought the course rode really well and the wet ground didn’t bother me.”

Carolyne Ryan-Bell, lying ninth on Rathmoyle King: “I didn’t like all the 90-degree turns into fences and I never want to jump an open corner with a short back rail again [like the HS1 Farmyard at 15], but he was great. After we jumped though the Lake I felt him turn into a real four-star horse.”

Annabel Wigley, who is lying 18th with Black Drum: “The course rode a lot tougher than I originally thought it would when I first walked it, but my horse was fantastic and he was so straight everywhere. He’s come back better after the winter.”

Tony Warr, currently 45th, whose horse Coolgrange Merger won many admirers with his accurate jumping: “I watched a couple of riders before I went, but wished I hadn’t because none of them completed. ‘Precious’ always locks on to his fences, but a couple of times he wasn’t sure where he was going, like at the Countryside Complex [14abcd], where he jumped the third element and couldn’t understand why I was pulling him left. Then he spotted the final part and locked on. ”

Sam Watson, lying eighth on Horseware Bushman: “The ground was exactly how I wanted it; I prayed for rain and nature helped me out. I think the leader board would have been very different without the overnight rain.”

Alex Hua-Tian, who fell on his first horse, Jeans, but later jumped clear with Magenta: “After the disappointment of this morning, Maggie [Magenta] absolutely tried her heart out and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Old and new faces overnight in the Badminton top 10

Carolyne Ryan-Bell, currently lying ninth, is no stranger to Badminton, but this is something of a comeback for her. She won an Armada dish for completing Badminton five times in the Nineties and her old campainger, Hooray Henry was a Badminton stalwart in his day.  But today it was Rathmoyle King who made his mark and really rose to the challenge.

"I felt that the course was harder than last year," said Carolyne. "But he [Rathmoyle King] really turned into a four-star horse out there, especially on the second part of the course."

The pair added just 6 time penalties to a dressage score of 47.0.

A new face in the top 10 at Badminton is Sam Watson. He is currently the highest placed Irish rider on the leaderboard and also the youngest. He will go into the final phase tomorrow lying in eighth place, having had a fantastic ride across the country on Horseware Bushman. This is his second time at Badminton and he has risen from 42nd place after the dressage.

"The ground was exactly how I wanted it," said 24-year-old Sam, who is based in Worcestershire. "My horse prefers wetter going, so I was praying for rain."

Sam made his debut on the Irish team at the European Championships last year. "The World Games in Kentucky is my main aim now, but I'd like to start with a clear round here tomorrow first," added Sam, who thought that today's track was a "typical Badminton course".

Paul Tapner leads after a dramatic cross-country day

What a day of ups and downs – European medallists on the floor, first-timers in the top three. Not a minute went by without a surprise of some sort lurking around the corner.


Paul Tapner, who has been on scintillating form on the one-day circuit this spring, but who was largely overlooked by pundits for this competition, now heads the field on Inonothing after a brilliant cross-country performance that left him with just 0.4 of a time penalty.

Paul, who had already been round the course once on Stormhill Michael, admitted that he didn’t watch anyone ride the course in between.

“I knew that it was causing carnage, but I slept a bit and tried to keep away as much as possible,” he said.

Mary King and Imperial Cavalier are lying second, less than a showjump behind Paul, on 47.2.

Mary, who was held up on course when Alex Hua Tian’s first ride, Jeans, demolished the second of the corners at the HS1 Farmyard at 15, admitted that it took a while for her to get back into her stride following the hold-up.

“I was talking to the crowd while I was waiting and got a bit distracted. I rode the next fence – the

Countryside Complex [fence 14abcd] – pretty poorly and that shook me up a bit,” she said.

Badminton first-timer Simone Deitermann celebrated her birthday in fine style with a superb round that elevated her into third place with the flamboyant Free Easy NRW.

“I was surprised to do so well as although he is a very good jumper he sometimes goes a little too much forward.”

Pre-event favourites and current European Champions Tina Cook and Miners Frolic endured a dunking in the Lake when the gelding left a leg over the narrow first element, while silver medallist Piggy French’s day was no better – she fell from Some Day Soon when he screwed awkwardly over the first part of the Countryside Complex at 14abcd.

PAUL TAPNER AUDIO INTERVIEW

A room with a (lakeside) view and plenty of liquid refreshment

Keen to sample all that Badminton has to offer, bloggers Ellie Hughes and Emma Sewell dropped into the new lakeside bar – The Outside Chance – to check out this year's must-visit watering hole.
It is being run by events organiser Freddie Tulloch and Howard Spooner, who owns The Outside Chance pub near Marlborough and the Chelsea nightclub, Crazy Larrys. Both boys are passionate about making this work for the horse trials and have been working in collaboration with Badminton director Hugh Thomas.

“There is something for everyone,” said Freddie. And he is not wrong. The bar, complete with plasma screens, a cocktail bar, DJs and a generous sized outdoor area, serves food and drink of varying descriptions all day. When we arrived it was a hive of activity with young and old enjoying the thrills and spills that The Lake (fences 12 a, b, c and d) had to offer.

“We have been really pleased with the support that we have had from people over the weekend. We presented the idea to Hugh [Thomas] and he has been great,” said Freddie.
Howard acquired his Marlborough pub on the back of a 100-1 bet which enabled him to make the purchase. Hence the name – The Outside Chance.
Tonight The Outside Chance will play host to the much anticipated “Mane Event”, which kicks off at 6pm. Ticket holders (tickets cost £20 in advance) will be able to enjoy all the urban trimmings but in the fabulous surroundings of Badminton. We will certainly be dropping in for a drink and dance.

Toddy enjoys dream comeback ride

It has been 10 years since Mark Todd last competed at Badminton, but the Kiwi maestro returned in fine style with NZB Grass Valley, making up for a mediocre dressage score of 55.8 with an exhibition round across the country that left him with 8.8 time penalties.


“He’s not a speed machine, but he keeps up a good gallop and I couldn’t be more delighted with him,” said Mark, whose broad grin when he crossed the line said it all. “He would be the least experienced horse I have ever ridden here, but each time I asked him to go on and pick up, he responded.”

Grass Valley looked to relish the softer ground and Mark is confident that the experience will have brought the 10-year-old on enormously.

“He’s capable of a dressage mark in the 40s, but he felt a little stiff yesterday and perhaps didn’t do his best test,” said Mark, who has nevertheless earmarked the gelding for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

View his Video Diary following Cross Country

Horse fatality at The Mitsuibishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

It is with great sadness we announce that Desert Island, ridden by Louisa Lockwood and owned by Donald Birts was put down following a fall at fence 9 (The corner at Huntsmans Close).

A detailed investigation of the circumstances is currently taking place and a further statement with be made as soon as any more information is available.

The rider Louisa Lockwood, is currently being attended by the Red Cross, however is believed not to have sustained any serious injury.

Julian Seaman
Press Officer

Mary King currently leading the field

Mary King currently heads the leaderboard after her cross-country round at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. She survived a few hairy moments, but came back with just 2.4pen with Imperial Cavalier. Paul Tapner and Stormhil Michael are currently lying in second and Andrew Nicholson and Nereo third.

Andrew said: “The course rode well. I deliberately started a bit carefully to keep some petrol in the tank, but I’m really pleased with him.”

Sian Wynne Morris has just posted the first clear inside the time with Just Appeal.

A few fences have been taken out of the course due to the wet ground: fences 5 and 6 in the quarry, plus fence 30, the second part of the double of angled logs at the penultimate, have been removed.

Weather brightening up - but cross-country day may favour the mud larks

Riders with an early draw may be thanking their lucky stars as the predicted heavy rain that arrived at Badminton yesterday has continued to fall throughout the night and into this morning. Cross-country day should certainly favour proven mud larks as the wet weather shows little sign of relenting with just an hour to go before the first combination is due to leave the start box.


The last paricularly wet cross-country day at Badminton was in 2004, where experienced combinations came to the fore. That year, William Fox-Pitt secured his first Badminton win with Tamarillo.

Andrew Nicholson, who is bidding to add his name to the Mitsubishi Motors trophy for the first time, sets off at 11.24am on the first of his two rides, Nereo, who won at Bramham last year. Andrew admitted yesterday that we would look favourably on a wet cross-country day.

He said: “It should work in my favour if it rains all night.”

The damp conditions certainly don’t seem to have deterred the crowds. There were already queues forming as early as 7.45am to get into the car parks.

Pack your wellies, but with the rain easing off and a forecast of Sunny spells for the start of cross country, get set for a great day and a rollercoaster ride.

BBC Politics West will go live from Badminton

BBC Politics West will be broadcast live from The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials later this morning.
The live TV debate will be shown at 11.55am, after The Politics Show, on BBC One. Chaired by David Garmston, three local candidates - a representative from each party - will be quizzed by 15 locally selected guests.

Mark Harper is the Conservative candidate, and is standing for The Forest of Dean. David Drew, who is standing for Stroud, will be the Labour representative, while the third candidate is Liberal Democrat Martin Horwood, who will be standing for Cheltenham.
“We have decided to broadcast the programme from Badminton as it sits in the heart of the West Country,” says Dickon Hooper, a member of the BBC production team. “It is a beautiful location and the horse trials is a great event to be at.”

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Badminton 2010 Post Dressage Press Conference

Here's a short video of the post Dressage Press Conference with Ruth Edge, Kai Ruder and Tina Cook.


Kai Rüder maintains pole position going into Sunday's Cross Country

Kai Rüder has maintained his pole position at the end of the dressage phase at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. The German rider and his stallion, Le Prince Des Bois, hold a 5.2-penalty lead over Ruth Edge and Two Thyme.

Ruth may well be thanking her lucky stars for an early draw tomorrow as rain has been pelting down on Badminton park since lunchtime today.

But Ruth said: “The ground has been so well prepared that it will take more rain. Even so, I’m glad to be going early on.”

Kai Ruder revealed that he won’t be playing safe because of the weather; he has his sights very much focused on taking home the Mitsubishi Motors trophy despite this being his first attempt.

“My horse is strong so he shouldn’t be affected by the rain. My plan at the moment is to take all the straight routes,” he said.

Le Prince Des Bois is certainly bred in the purple for the job. He is by Yarlands Summersong, the ride of Marie Christine Duroy, who was eighth here in 1985.

Tina Cook and Miners Frolic lay poised in third on a score of 41.7. Tina blamed herself for a few lapses in concentration which prevented her from breaking the 40-barrier.

She said: “To get in the 30s I have to press all the right buttons and I missed a beat with the first flying change, which I’m cross with myself about.”

Tina thinks that tomorrow’s proceedings could be dictated by the weather.

She said: “If it keeps raining like it is now then I think that the ground in front of some of the narrow fences could get quite cut up". Tina earmarked the Quarry (fences 3 to 6) as a potential problem area on the course. “I’ve never jumped a fence like the log at the bottom of the quarry before. It’s a real old-fashioned test and I don’t know how it will ride.”

The first combination, Dan Jocelyn and Special Attorney are due out on course at 11am.

Keep up to date with the action on twitter: http://twitter.com/BHT_Office/badminton-crew

Short Video Message from Kai (auf Deutsch)

Looking forward to Badminton Horse Trials Cross Country Day

We have been catching up with first-timers in the collecting ring after their dressage performances, finding out how they fared and how they are feeling about the cross-country test tomorrow.

Duarte Seabra, the first Portugese rider ever to compete at Badminton Horse Trials was very pleased with Brave Heart’s dressage score of 52.0.
“This is not his best phase, so it was a good mark for him,” said Duarte, who is currently based in Lambourn with Kate Honey. This is a first four-star for this combination.
“For me, the cross-country course is very big, I cannot afford to make any mistakes,” said Duarte, who is lying in 41st position overnight. “Coming to Badminton is a dream for riders. This is a big thing for me, especially coming from Portugal,” he added.
Another foreign rider who will be looking for a good ride around tomorrow’s cross-country course is the Italian Gianluca Gardini.
When asked about future plans for this horse, he said, “I would first like to go clear tomorrow.” He has produced Lion Dancer, who is owned by his wife, from the beginning and felt that everything came together in the dressage. “The horse usually loses concentration half way through,” said Gianluca, who was ninth at Pau and 12th at Luhmuhlen last year.
This is also a first Badminton attempt for British rider Daniel Sibley and Tarmac Adam.
“I was hoping for a dressage score in the 50s, so I just got there with 59,” said Devon-based Daniel, who believes that the horse is improving all the time in this phase. “The course is quite straight, which I am hoping will suit us.” Daniel, who has produced Tarmac Adam from BE100 level, finished 7th in the CCI*** at Bramham last year.
We are keeping everything crossed that the heavy rain currently soaking Badminton is going to move elsewhere overnight, leaving us with sunshine and showers tomorrow (preferably more sunshine).

For all the latest Badminton gossip follow us on Twitter...
http://twitter.com/BHT_Office/badminton-crew

Bloggers at large – and hitting the shops

Keen to take a break from the serious business of dressage, Badminton bloggers Ellie Hughes and Emma Sewell decided to take to the shops in search of some stories – and bargains.
Here is our pick of the bunch:

For the outrageous country bumpkins and town trotters alike, we thoroughly recommend a visit to Where The Fox Hat. Located in the Country Living tent you can hardly miss the vast array of fluffy foe that have been reincarnated as super cool headwear. Owner Jonny Beardsall assures us that these furry gems are the height of fashion – from the London streets to the slopes of Val d’Isere.

From foxes to hounds; we just couldn’t walk past The Labrador Company stand in the Country Living tent without taking a closer look. There is nothing but Labrador print here – from cushion covers and armchairs to handbags and clocks complete with wagging tails – we know what we’ll be hanging on our kitchen walls after Badminton. The company, set up in November last year, is owned by Vicky Eaton, who designs all the prints herself. Apparently terriers will be getting the same treatment next.

Tweed is very definitely in; in fact it has never really been out. Up until now we bloggers have been window shopping, but that all changed when we paid a visit to GiliNix. Tucked away in the Country Collection marquee, Gillian Painter’s collection of tweeds, woven in Scotland and made in England, have been have been a hit with everyone. We even spied the owners of William Fox-Pitt’s ride, Macchiato, browsing the shelves donning their GiliNix tweed, bought last year.

If silver jewellery is your thing, check out Silver Experience in the Country Living tent. First-time exhibitors Lesley and Helen have made the trip from Edinburgh with their unique collection of hand-crafted sterling silver. We were left drooling over the silver bracelets, which are contemporary and would look great with everything. We will be back there before the end of the week.

We love belts; everyone loves belts. Estribos’ colourful wall will stop you in your tracks as you approach the Country Collection marquee. Not only are they stylish, but they work for waists of all dimensions. Made from the same leather as stirrups - estribos is Spanish for stirrup – they offer belts in 80 different designs. This company is no one-hit wonder, it has been selling hats for 120 years and leatherwork for 30 years. Seriously guys, belt up, you can never have too many, can you?

Kai Rüder storms into the lead

Rather rashly, we predicted that there might not be much change at the top of the leaderboard during this morning’s dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. How wrong could we be?


Germany’s Kai Rüder and Le Prince Des Bois stormed into the lead with a score of 33.8.

Kai said: “I could feel that he was going well in the warm up; once I got into the arena I just had to sit there and let it happen.”

The pair finished 10th at Burghley last year, but this is their first visit to Badminton.

Francis Whittington has made a miraculous recovery from a meningitis scare at the beginning of April which rendered him hospital-bound until the 16th of this month. His test on Sir Percival III was good enough to go into third place on 42.8.

“I have my sister, Bryony, and my support team at home to thank for keeping Percy fit,” said Francis, who will need to have his wits about him tomorrow to keep Percy focused on the job.

“I’ll need to concentrate from fence 1 to fence 31 as you never quite know what surprise he’s going to throw at you,” said Francis, in reference to the gelding’s faux pas at Burghley last year when Percy jammed on the anchors at a relatively innocuous fence.

There were smiles all round when Piggy French managed to contain an exuberant Some Day Soon to post a score of 44.7, which puts her currently in equal seventh with Mary King and Imperial Cavalier.

“We have been working him since 5am this morning,” said Piggy.

Among those congratulating Piggy was Oliver Townend, who looks to have made a good recovery from his horrific fall at last week’s Rolex Kentucky three-day event, which left him with a broken shoulder, collarbone and two cracked ribs.

“Obviously I would have preferred to be riding here, but I’ve got a 21-day ban and I’m in no rush to get back in the saddle,” he said. “I’ve got two good boys at home – Waylon Roberts and Steven Smith – who will do a very good job keeping the horses fit.”

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on current European Champion Tina Cook and Miners Frolic when they perform their test at 2pm.

Listen to the Audio Interview with Kai.

Keep up to date with all the latest gossip on twitter: http://twitter.com/BHT_Office/badminton-crew

The Leaderboard at Badminton 2010 has been shaken up this morning

Wow, there have been some smart dressage tests this morning on the second day of Dressage at Badminton Horse Trials, starting with James Robinson and Comanche, who were first into the arena. James is no stranger to Badminton – this will be his eighth visit – and he has started this year on a great note, with an accurate test to slot into second on 43.5.


Then, several horses later, Germany’s Andreas Dibowski and Euroridings Butts Leon performed a smooth, calm test to score 43.7 and take third.

Standing in the collecting ring, it has been interesting watching the horses working this morning. Tina Cook has been schooling Miners Frolic around the warm-up area. Even though he looks ready to run for his life tomorrow he was being very calm and collected. Tina will be in the arena straight after lunch today at 2pm.

Matthew Wright’s Well Spotted was also working well. Matthew’s not had the best of luck at Badminton in the last few years – he was eliminated here last time on If You Want II – so he will be hoping for a good run tomorrow.

Zara Phillips had her hands full with an exuberant Glenbuck, who didn’t give her an easy ride. They scored 59.3.

She said: “The longer he works before his test the more uptight he gets. The movements still happen, but his brain goes a bit.”

We’re off out now to watch Piggy French and Some Day Soon – let’s keep fingers crossed she can coax as good a test out of him as she did in Fontainebleau last year.

Kai Ruder now in the lead on 33.8

Badminton Has Gone Cyber Social and Twitterific

The social networking phenomenon that is Twitter has reached the Deer Park at Badminton Horse Trials and for the thousands of fans out there who just can't wait to get the very latest scoops on what is happening down on the event (whether you're here or not), there are now loads of way to stay tuned in.

Twitter: We have a small army of tweeters around the event getting the latest news from the media Centre, The Collecting Ring, The Stables, and every other corner of show ground. To follow all of this Subscribe to out Badminton Crew List.

Facebook: In place of our hugely popular chat room we now have a newly launched Badminton Facebook Page  with an ever growing fan base. and here's where you'll find a whole host of news snippets, photos, and chat from the event and the fan base.

YouTube: Badminton has recently launched its own You Tube Channel and you'll find plenty of short video clips, Video Diaries, and Reviews here.

The Badminton Blog: The newly launched blog also provides news, views and interviews throughout the event and the rest of the year.

Our Main Site: And of course the main site has everything you could ever need; Up to the minute Results (including Dressage Score Sheets & XC Fence Analysis), Audio Interviews, News, and our ever popular Photo Galleries.

Now you really can be in the loop as it as it happens!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Ruth Edge Leads After Day One

Ruth Edge leads after the first day of dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. A typically polished first phase performance with Phil and Maureen Smith’s Two Thyme earned the current British open champion a score of 39 – the only sub-40 mark of the day.


Two Thyme, who is now 16, has been carefully prepared for Badminton this year.

Ruth said: “He’s had a few soundness issues since Luhmuhlen [where he won in 2008], which ruled him out of the Hong Kong Olympics, but by giving him little holidays in between competitions he has stayed fit and well. Badminton has been his specific target for this season and he is on great form.”

Kitty King (née Boggis), who was the last rider of the day into the arena, inched her way into second place by virtue of an energetic and uphill test with the 14-year-old black gelding, Boondoggle, with a score of 44.3.

“When I first started riding him two years ago he was quite green on the flat, but now he’s more relaxed and his paces are starting to swing.”

Mary King and Imperial Cavalier are lying third on a score of 44.8.

“Unfortunately the loud speakers crackled and banged just as we came into the arena, so his test was a little bit tense to start with,” said Mary, for whom this is a 19th visit to Badminton.

“I’m just as excited now as I was back then,” she said.

Tomorrow’s dressage gets underway at 9.20am, when vet James Robinson will be first into the arena with Comanche.

Grassroots round up

Jack Day triumphed in the BE100 Grassroots Championship riding his own Smoke and Mirrors. An excellent dressage score of 27.8 and a double clear ensured his victory.

“It has been terrific,” says Jack, 21, who hails from Billesdon Coplow in Leicestershire. “The whole experience has been wonderful. I hope that our event can add to the whole event here at Badminton, even if it is predominantly about the four-star.”

Jack is a third-year vet student at Cambridge. “This horse is a cracking hunter but we are also having fun with him eventing,” adds Jack, who hunts with the Cattistock and the Fernie and also race-rides.
Hot on Jack’s heels was Elaine Wilson, who finished just 0.2 penalties behind on a score of 28.0 riding her own Weston Moonshine.
“When I started eventing again in 2008, I planned to do BE90 and not go any bigger, but my children told me that I was pot-hunting and had to move up,” says Elaine, who had a 33-year break from eventing and now trains event riders.
There were just 1.3 penalties separating the top three in the BE100 Championship and completing the line up was Kylie Roddy riding the six-year-old ex-racehorse Laurentian Lad.
“It is really nice to incorporate professionals and amateurs together at Badminton,” says Kylie, who hopes that this horse will now move up a level. “I hope that this is something that will carry on in the future. Everyone has been very supportive and this is what the sport is all about.”
Amy Dixon led from the start in the BE90 Championship with Maid In Holland, a 10-year-old mare, finishing on her dressage score of 28.8.
“This was a million times better than all my expectations,” says Amy, who is based in Kendal, Cumbria. “I thought the Grassroots competition might be put to one side of the main competition, but that has not been the case at all - we have been right in the middle of it.”
Amy, who is a medical rep, qualified at Solihull in August last year. She has been riding Maid In Holland for three and a half years.
“She had never jumped a cross-country fence before I got her, so it has been a slow process,” says Amy, who also won the BE90 at Stafford this year.
Newark-based Karen Baugh was second with Spark Of Talent.
“It is just amazing to be at a place like this,” says Karen. “The horse can take a bit of time to warm up on the cross-country so I was a bit nervous about the first few fences, but it was fine.”
“I think that this is a great development for the sport, and especially for people who don’t event full-time,” she adds.
Third in the BE90 was Beth Sutcliffe from Cumbria with Wodka Lime.
“This is a quirky type of horse, but the course rode really well,” says Beth, who won at Kelsall Hill and Stafford on her last two outings.

Grassroots News, Photos and Results
Audio Interview with Jack Day
Audio Interview with Amy Dixon

Sharon hopes to set the record straight

All eyes will be on Sharon Hunt and Tankers Town on Sunday as they look to lay last year’s cross-country start box ghosts firmly to rest. The chestnut gelding, who finished fifth here in 2008, planted his feet last time and refused to start, resulting in elimination.
But 32-year-old Sharon, who has recently re-located her string from Suffolk to Kent, has experimented with various tactics over the past 12 months to get Tankers Town back on track.
“I have found that getting on him in the start box works really well,” said Sharon, who won an advanced section at Belton last time out.
The pair has started well at Badminton this year. A supple, accurate test earned them a score of 48.2 and leaves them in 11th place at the end of the first day.

Who's new?

There are a clutch of first-timers hoping to impress at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this year.

Of the 18 first-timers, only five are British - Daniel Sibley, Nicola Malcolm, Sian Wynne Morris, Sarah Bullimore and Rachel Gough. The youngest of these is 21-year-old Rachel Gough, who is riding her own and Michael and Sarah Gough's Bow House Mandalin. The pair got into Badminton from 15th on the waiting list and they finished 26th at Burghley in 2008 - a first attempt at four-star level for both horse and rider.

This leaves 13 foreign first-timers - Alex Hua Tian, Alexander Peternell (pictured), Camilla Speirs, Sidney Dufresne, Marco Savoini, Simone Deitermann, Duarte Seabra, Gianluca Gardini, Bruce Haskell, Geoff Curran, Juan Carlos Garcia, Kai Ruder and Benjamin Massie.

Duarte Seabra is the first Portugese rider to compete at Badminton. The 24-year-old has produced his horse, Brave Heart, from a novice and last year the pair finished second in the Bramham under 25 championship and 21st at the Fontainebleau European Championships.

Camilla Speirs (20) is the second youngest rider competing at Badminton this year (after Alex Hua Tian). She is a stalwart of the Irish junior and young rider teams and finished ninth at the Young Rider Europeans in 2008. She rides the 15.1hh Portersize Just A Jiff and comes to Badminton on the back of a fourth placing in the CIC*** at Burnham Market earlier this year.

This might be a first attempt at Badminton for Gianluca Gardini and Lion Dancer, but the combination comes here with good four-star form, having finished ninth at Pau and 12th at Luhmuhlen last year.

Biggest, Smallest, Oldest, Youngest

Badminton horses come in all shapes and sizes, and this year's field is no exception.

The smallest: The diminutive Little Tiger, ridden by Phoebe Buckley, is back at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials for a fourth year. Phoebe freely admits that the mare only stands at 15hh "on tiptoes". She will be looking to improve on her previous performances - she finished 38th in both 2007 and 2008. The pair is currently on form and had a storming cross-country run at Belton earlier this month.

The tallest: At the other end of the scale, the lofty Old Road (Michael Ryan) and Coolgrange Merger (Tony Warr) both stand at 17.2hh. This is Coolgrange Merger's second attempt at Badminton, having finished 44th last year with a clear cross-country round. Old Road comes here for a third time having completed in 2006 and 2008. Michael's wife Patricia is also competing, making them the only husband/wife combination riding at Badminton this year.

The oldest rider: Thirty years after his first win here, 54-year-old Mark Todd returns to Badminton after 10 years. He brings the four-star first-timer, NZB Grass Valley, a ride he took over from Julian Stiller in 2009.

The youngest rider: Of the three 20-year-olds riding at Badminton this year, Alex Hua Tian is the youngest. The Team Fredericks prodigy is now eventing full-time from his base in Wiltshire. He competed at the 2008 Olympic Games for China while still studying for his A levels at Eton College.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

All Horses Pass The First Vets' Inspection at Badminton 2010

You might be forgiven for thinking this (the Vets' Inspection) is a catwalk parade for horses and riders, but the serious side of this beauty parade is to ensure that horses entered for the event are considered 'sound' and fit to take part in, what is probably, the most physically demanding of the equestrian sports.

It's also the perfect excuse for many of the riders to show off that new outfit (and not just the ladies!), or as Matt Ryan did last year, show your new loyalties!

Horses are paraded (trotted) in front of the Ground Jury & Vets, who scruntinise them to pick up on any minor lameness, and as any rider will tell you its a great relief to hear the "PASS" called, signaling the all clear.

There were a few nervous riders today, as three or four horses were 'held' temporarily for a closer look, but happily all horses were eventually passed fit to compete for the greatest equestrian sporting accolade, The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Trophy.

Only one horse was not presented (The Cointreau Challenge, Charlotte Castle) and subsequently withdrawn.

Most riders were out walking the course this afternoon, getting their first feel for what lies ahead on Sunday for the cross country, and you can see what Mark Todd and Clayton Fredericks had to say about the course in their Thursday Video Diaries.

Save for the early starters in the Dressage tomorrow morning, the lorry park will no doubt be buzzing 'til late into the night as the riders continue to burn off their nervous energy.

More on all of that later......in the meantime browse the image galleries from today.

Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship gets underway

Before the main Badminton Horse Trials gets underway with the 1st inspection at 4PM, the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship has already sprung into action with the Dressage. In true Badminton style the championship is enticing fierce competition from all ages, there are five competitors under 14, and two over 55.

A dry but overcast start to the day's proceedings has turned into a rainy morning (albeit to the benefit of the cross country course), but none the less spirits are high over in the  grassroots lorry park and stables with a buzz of excitement and mums and other family members running around frantically plaiting, grooming, and polishing. It's been quite refereshing to see such a mixture of horses and ponies competing at Badminton!

Later today we'll have more video, photos, and news as the championship unfolds. Hopefully we'll also have a few video diaries too.

Keep an eye on the Grassroots Microsite and this blog for all the latest

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wednesday down at Badminton Horse Trials 2010

Things are really hotting up now! The tradestand lanes have been choc-a-bloc with vehicles dropping off more merchandise than we've ever seen. The stables are now a hive of activity with grooms unloading horses , tack, rugs and enough paraphernalia to keep a horse for a month let alone a 3-day-event. I didn't spot any kitchen sinks though!

These grooms really do do a fantastic job - just take a look at the shine on the coat of Clayton's Fredericks mount, The Frog (see Clayton's Wednesday Video Diary).

One of the big stories for the 2010 event is of course the comeback of Mark Todd. 10 years since he last competed here, and he's as focussed and on form as he's ever been. Will he make it a dream comeback? Well keep an eye on our website and Mark Todd's Badminton Video Diaries to find out.

As the sun sets over Badminton tonight, the activity continues in the lorry park as competitors feast on barbecues entertaining their owners, grooms, and each other.

The event starts in earnest tomorrow with the first inspection at 4PM, and no doubt all the competitors will be walking the course tomorrow afternoon after the Rider's Briefing.

More tomorrow.......

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Horses Start Arriving For Badminton 2010

Everybody is busy unpacking, setting up, getting their bearings and generally running around, but it's when horses start arriving that you really feel that Badminton Week is well and truly here. It's here!

The French contingent were the first to arrive and Haston D’elpegere (ridden by Benjamin Massie) was given a well deserved graze in front of Badminton House! (pictured with groom, Elizabeth Bazine)

Tomorrow, will be another busy day down in the stables as more and more horses arrive, not a day to attempt parking anywhere near the stables!


More on all the hubub tomorrow........

Live Online Coverage of Badminton Horse Trials 2010

Well, Badminton week has finally arrived and its all busy, busy, busy down in the deer park. The office seems to have moved almost lock, stock & barrel to it's temporary location on site (now where did I put those scissors?). There's barely time to stop for a quick blog or tweet, but as those nice people over at Horse & Country TV have just finalised the technical details for our 'live Badminton Horse Trials international online broadcast'  (sounds very posh) we just couldn't wait to tell you all about it.

For those of you outside the UK, cross country day will be broadcast live online courtesy of Horse & Country TV. Coverage starts at 10:50 BST (that's UK time) and finishes around 17:00 BST so set your alarm clocks, reminders and tie a knot in your hanky because you won't want to miss this!

For those of you IN the UK there is of course live coverage on BBC TV:

Sunday 2nd May  11am – 5pm   Cross Country live on Red Button
Monday 3rd May  12.35 pm – 2.15 pm BBC 2 – Cross Country Highlights

                          5.55pm – 6.30pm BBC 2 – Show Jumping

As in previous years we'll also be bringing you plenty of photos, video clips, news, views and interviews from the event as it happens. Results on the website are also up to the minute, so if you're not fortunate enough to make it on site for what is bound to be one of the best  Badminton's yet, at least you can follow all of the action from the comfort of your PC, mobile phone or other fancy internet enabled device.

More on all of the ways to stay informed later.....

ahh, there's my scissors!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

APRIL DIARY - ONLY DAYS TO BADMINTON

With the event starting on 29th April this will be the last ‘monthly’ diary this year. As usual, April has been extraordinarily busy with continuous activity on site. Most of our contractors are hard at work – the park resembles a big building site with now probably several hundred people working to get everything ready.

It hasn’t rained here since Easter so the ground generally is now pretty dry. The benefits of the turf management programme are very obvious indeed, with the course and the arena looking and feeling totally different to their ‘natural’  surroundings. We are irrigating the drier parts of the course that are accessible and looking every day at the constantly changing weather forecasts – three days ago thunderstorms were forecast for this coming weekend, but no longer! Even if the going turns out to be firm, it will be very even and smooth with a good covering of grass.

Lots of filming has taken place here this month, all of it now on our website. First Yogi Breisner’s preview, then the course walk with Polly Stockton, then a short piece when Pippa Funnell came for Horse and Hound and World Horse Welfare, our nominated Charity of the Year. Chris Lewis our TV Producer came for his final visit this week, when we made sure the camera positions could see the strung course properly and the sponsors banners were sited to their best advantage but complying with the TV regulations.

Last week saw Press Day when we invite local, national and equestrian journalists for a preview of the course in a fleet of Mitsubishi Shoguns, the opportunity to take photos and ask questions and then enjoy an excellent lunch hosted by the Duke and Duchess. It was a happy day with many old friends meeting for the first time this year.

There are also many very necessary but unexciting meetings – for example the gathering of all the ‘Agencies’  involved in the event, particularly in terms of public safety. We had the Avon and Somerset Police,  Avon Fire and Rescue, the South Gloucestershire Council, the Great Western Ambulance Service for a fruitful hour or so; with the regularity of this annual event the main task of this meeting is to ensure that all involved know of any changes.

We waited with bated breath to see how many of the qualified Grassroots riders would actually enter and our predictions were just about right – 170 odd between the two classes, so more than we had really wanted but we reckon we can just about cope without starting before dawn! That course has really taken shape in the last few weeks and suddenly with the stringing and flags it, just like the International course, looks ready for customers. At a couple of places around the Lake the stringing does look a bit like a maze but hopefully it will all be clear to those walking each track.

After the huge entry, withdrawals from the International event had been many fewer than usual – some people thought we must be out of date on our website as it changed so rarely! However the past week has seen quite a few more and it seems more possible than we thought that by next Tuesday Mark Todd might actually get in – to ride here 30 years after his first, winning appearance in 1980.

The dreaded Icelandic Volcano claimed one very sad casualty, in that Philip Dutton’s ride Woodburn was unable to travel from the United States and so had to withdraw – he at least will get a run in Kentucky but we are sorry this top American, formerly Australian jockey cannot be here. We asked the generous Sue Stewart to be on stand by to judge as a member of the Ground Jury in case Nicoli Fife could not make the journey from New Zealand, but at the moment it looks much more promising that she will be able to come.

The Box Office closed to advance bookings on Monday 19th April with pre-sales at a record level. This does not necessarily mean we will have record crowds at the event, since lots of people, particularly on cross country day, just come and pay at the gate, but it certainly shows that interest is very high and many people, like us, are hugely looking forward to next weekend. There are still a few show jumping seats left which will go on sale again at the Box Office on the grounds during the event itself. We have to shut the Box Office 10 days before the start, simply in order to guarantee to get tickets to customers before the event  starts – as it is, with the usual last minute rush, our small team lead by Carol Alexander will have had to print, collate, stuff envelopes and post tickets to nearly 2000 addresses this week.

We always hope for good weather over this coming weekend, as Sunday brings the Fence Judges and Stewards briefings – in a tent and then at each fence on the course, so that they can all discuss the individual problems that might arise. Traditionally the organising team then has a picnic in the park –  either on the lakeside or sometimes in one of the marquees. The caravan site is being pegged out, beds put down in the stables and names stapled to the stable doors, the stables canteen will open on Tuesday for early arrivals and many of the staff working here. The next week will go all too quickly!,

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