Badminton Unveils ‘Swashbuckling’ 2017 Cross Country Course

Badminton Horse Trials has just unveiled a preview of its 2017 course, and we advise not having a look until your lunch has digested!

Eric Winter’s debut Badders track looks to have a distinctly old school feel: “It greatly resembles the swashbuckling tracks of the 1970’s, but with the advantage of 21st century safety technology. Unlike many modern courses there is a deliberate lack of superfluous decoration with most fences using massive rustic timber … If there was one word to describe the 2017 course it could be ‘chunky.'”

For the real-deal virtual course walk experience, be sure to check out CrossCounty App. In addition to photos and illustrations of each obstacle, its Badminton preview features audio, drone flyovers and video walkthroughs with Eric and British eventer Harry Meade. Check it out online here and be sure to download the app today!

If you’re pressed for time, here’s a 10-cent tour via press release:

Starting as ever in the main arena over the ASX Starter, this year riders head in a clockwise direction over an inviting roll top brush the Rolex Rolltop. There is a new look to the Keepers ditch with a large but inviting table Keepers Question and another single fence Mike Weavers Haywain.

The first real question comes with the four part Savills Staircase, rails, two steps down and an angled brush away. A gallop towards the House then introduces a very substantial table Countryside Birch, where the brave can angle it and save several seconds cutting inside a tree on landing.

Eric has put The Lake complex earlier than recently as he felt he could then make it a bit more of a challenge. First come the L200 Pickup Trucks, then a massive drop into the water, a right turn to a wooden cottage out and a brushed up log. (There are time consuming alternatives here).

Instead of pockets of relentless action there is a flow to the course which next takes in an uncompromising white parallel in front of the House, the Offset Oxer then ahead to the Shogun Hollow, two wide corners with a dip between.

A longish gallop follows down to the Vicarage Ditch where Eric has reintroduced an ’80s classic, the KBIS Bridge. It is then left to the Outlander Bank with an even choice of cottages on the top and right to another ’70s tribute act, a spectacular revamp of a thick rail over the ditch the Rolex Grand Slam Trakehner

It is up one of the few inclines in Badminton Park to the Hildon Water Pond with a single tree trunk in, another in the water and a sharply angled log away. Here again there is a very long ‘scenic route.’ Down the hill again to the let up Sheep Feeder and another place to make up a bit of time in the approach to the familiar Mirage Pond, two angled hedges with the pond between on quite a tight distance.

Another relatively simple, but maximum size rustic spread, the Devoucoux Oxer follows before coming back into the Deer Park through the Phev Corral, up the mound to a very upright set of post and rails then down into the ranch’s ‘yard’ where riders can choose either the left or right side of the post and rail funnel on a tight angle.

Back to the front of the House to the Event Mobility Dining Table (named for the event’s Charity of the Year) followed closely by the Joules Corner, a hedge to set riders up for a double of angled boxed brush corners.

Horses then get their feet wet for the last time, splashing through to an old type vast, ‘Burghley’ bullfinch, the Wadsworth Lakeside

Most of the serious questions have been asked by now and the two log piles in the Irish Horse Gateway Huntsmans Close are much kinder than in recent years but to ensure riders don’t just go flat out alongside the road Eric makes them go back and forward across the fence line over two upright World Horse Welfare Gates. The Horsequest Quarry starts with a big brush on the flat, down into the dip and over a choice of broom head ‘skinnies’ and up a steep slope to an upright wall.

The last few relatively ‘kind’ obstacles start with the double of FEI Classics Hedges, then the Rolex Trunk whose approach is through a spinney and back into the arena. And we finally come to the Mitsubishi Final Mount, for which on Eric’s instigation the design was put out to public competition. Of 13,000 votes on line nearly 4,000 went for Tots Hanson’s carved saddles.

The entry list for the 2017 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI4* was released in late March, and we’re excited for the opportunity to root for a big North American contingent this year, including six U.S. and one Canadian pair.


Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot
Katherine Coleman and Longwood
Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica
Lynn Symansky and Donner
Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless


Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master

The waitlist includes Bunnie Sexton (USA) and Rise Against, who are now five away from being accepted (although all signs point to them being Rolex-bound), and Kathryn Robinson (CAN) and Let it Bee, who are eight away from being accepted. Who knows …

Fourteen nations will be represented in this year’s competition. Michael Jung’s sole entry is La Biosthetique Sam FBW, with whom of course he won Badminton 2016. With Jung looking to defend his title amid an entry list stacked to the roof with the world’s best horses and riders, this year’s edition should be especially intense!

Badminton 2017 takes place May 4-7. Learn more or purchase tickets by visiting the website here.

[Badminton 2017 Cross Country Course]