Badminton Horse Trials Preview

Now that William has finished giving his young horse a nice schooling ride around what can only be described as a nice move-up 4*, the eventing world turns to the Badminton Horse Trials.  And by ‘horse trials’ they mean a CCI4*–they just call it a ‘horse trials’ to be cool.  Sadly, as usual, the USA will not be sending any horses over to attempt a revenge win from Rolex.  Thank you Icelandic volcano gods.  When was the last time the US won a 4* on foreign soil?  With that depressing thought I present our Badminton preview:
Schedule — Due to a new TV contract with the BBC, the competition at Badminton will run from Friday to Monday, with dressage on Friday and Saturday, XC on Sunday, and show jumping on Monday.  They scheduled the show jumping on Monday because May 3rd is a ‘bank’ holiday in the UK.  Bank holidays are public holidays in England, so it’s like their President’s Day or Independence Day except…well, you get the idea.
The UK is currently running in GMT +1 time, which means they are EST +5 hours.  Basically, the Badminton schedule is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the US, so take any time on the badminton schedule and subtract 5 hours to get the EST time

Thursday: First horse inspection 11AM EDT

Friday: Dressage 4:30AM-12:00PM EDT

Saturday: Dressage 4:30AM-12:00PM EDT

Sunday: XC 6:00AM-11:30AM EDT

Monday: Show jumping 6:00AM-10:00AM EDT


You don’t even want to think about the Badminton schedule in Pacific time.  The good news is that none of your friends will be awake for most of Badminton so they don’t have to be disappointed when you tell them you’re too busy refreshing Eventing Nation to hang out with them.  Actually, that’s a lie, there’s nothing good about this schedule.
Horses and Riders — As usual, the Badminton field is stacked.  There were approximately 130 entries and 85 horses are set to start the event.  Some names everyone should recognize include Alex Hua Tian, Mary King, Andrew Nicholson, William Fox-Pitt, Clayton Fredericks, Mark Todd, Zara Phillips, Lucy Wiegersma.  We won’t preview everyone of course, but check out the entries list and you can click on the names of each rider for a biography and past performances.

The Course — It’s Badminton so it’s big and technical and will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not ready.  The Badminton website has all the resources you need to get a feel for the course that doesn’t involve a long plane flight and a trip through customs.  And yes, I know we already linked to these last week:

Video course walk: with Polly Stockton and course designer Hugh Thomas

Fence drawings

Virtual course walk

Course analysis article

EN’s Coverage — If you haven’t caught on to this already, to steal a line from Oliver, you’re a bit slow on the uptake.  Check back to Eventing Nation throughout the weekend several times a day for the latest Badminton coverage and to chat with the Eventing Nation community about all things Badminton.  

The vote for the placement of the scrolling Twitter news feed was close enough (56%-44%) that I decided to leave it at the top for now.  Essentially, all the little stories that used to go into N&N are getting put into the news feed, which has the added advantage of being able to include feeds from other sites depending on what events are most important.  Go eventing.
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