Badminton Cross Country Preview

Jimmy Wofford, Colleen Rutledge and Helen Laffitte at fence 3, the HorseQuest Quarry.

Finally — it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the Badminton cross-country course preview. It’s very interesting walking the course just a week after Rolex. While both events are CCI4*s, this course is entirely different in its conception. At Rolex, most of the jumps were bunched toward the middle of the course, with the end of the course containing long gallops between fewer fences. At Badminton, it’s the total opposite. The beginning of the course has big galloping fences and minimal questions, and then all of a sudden the questions start coming one after the other, with the end of the course packed with some really intense fences. Standing at the bottom of Savills’ Staircase is truly terrifying, and that’s just one of the monster questions on course.

I have to give a special shoutout to Mark, who has volunteered at Badminton for the last decade to drive journalists and photographers around the course to take preview photos, saving them precious minutes in their busy days. He was a lovely guide for me around the course. And yes, I did not technically walk the entire course. After Rolex — which I set out to powerwalk and pulled muscles I didn’t even know I had — I took the easy route. But I DID run into Colleen Rutledge, Jimmy Wofford and super groom Helen Laffitte at fence 3, the HorseQuest Quarry, where Colleen was kind to give me an interview about her dressage test this morning with Shiraz. Cross all your fingers and toes for a safe and successful cross-country trip for Colleen and Luke as they look to make history by completing five of the world’s six CCI4* events as a team.



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