EN’s Ultimate Guide to the 2024 MARS Badminton Horse Trials

EN’s coverage of MARS Badminton Horse Trials is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products, your go-to source for science-backed nutritional support across all types of horses, disciplines, and needs. Click here to learn more about what KPP can do for your horse — thank you for supporting our wonderful sponsors!

The MARS Badminton Horse Trials: Website | Box Office | Entries | Timetable | Course Preview | Live Stream | EN’s Coverage

THE COMPETITION: Welcome to the third CCI5* of the 2024 season, following on from a great week at the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event two weeks ago and Australia’s Adelaide the week prior to that. This year’s a special year for Badminton: it’s the 75th anniversary of the event, a fact that’ll be commemorated with a special pop-up museum featuring souvenirs of some of the greatest moments of the past eight decades. You can find it by the main scoreboard. This year, we also welcome a new title sponsor in MARS Equestrian – so expect lots of chocolate for everyone, and also a bright and bold new fence in the arena in the MARS colour way. Oh, and for the more technically-minded among you, our competitors will be riding CCI5* Test B. There’ll be 32 fences on the cross-country course, spanning 43-45 jumping efforts.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Badminton title, obviously, but also consider this: a major chance for some riders to prove to their team selectors that they really are all that. Oh, and the prize pot’s gone up this year too, to a juicy £425,000 — making it the biggest prize fund in eventing. There’s no longer a Rolex Grand Slam on the line, though: we start again, following the eleventh-hour withdrawal of two-part leader Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class.

THE OFFICIALS: Sandy Phillips (GBR) will be President of the ground jury, and is joined this week by Jane Hamlin (USA) and Christian Steiner (AUT). Joanna Gillespie (GBR) will take on the role of jumping judge. The course is designed, once again, by Britain’s Eric Winter, advised by Mike Etherington-Smith, and Phillip Kelvin Bywater returns in his role as showjumping course designer. The event’s Technical Delegate is Andrew Temkin (USA), assisted by Stuart Buntine (GBR). Nicky Salmon is chief steward, and course building has once again been undertaken by the Willis Brothers.

THE ENTRIES: We head into Badminton week with a packed field of 71 entries spanning seven nations – Great Britain, New Zealand, Ireland, France, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Switzerland are all represented here. Because it’s an Olympic year, there’s a couple of notable absences: 2023 champion Lordships Graffalo won’t line up for Ros Canter, though she does have an entry with last year’s Pau champion, Izilot DHI, and 2022 winner London 52 is staying home for Laura Collett, who instead rides debutant Hester. But don’t rue their absence too much, because it opens the door for a seriously wide-open competition. As mentioned above, Oliver Townend and his five-star champion, warhorse, and perennial Badminton bridesmaid Ballaghmor Class will be fighting to try to win the Rolex Grand Slam, and they present a formidable threat to their opposition: Ballaghmor Class has won Burghley (twice) and Kentucky and has never been out of the top five in his nine five-star starts.

But they’re far from the only contenders for the win. Emily King makes her return to Gloucestershire on super form with her two-time Grantham Cup winner Valmy Biats, with whom she’s owed some horsemanship good karma after pulling up in tough conditions while looking very competitive last year. The world’s most successful five-star rider, William Fox-Pitt, is also on very good form with the smart mare Grafennacht, who had a podium finish at Maryland last year, and, of course, there’s Ros on a five-star winner to think about. Tim Price and Vitali might have been cursed by three fences down in each of their five-star starts so far, but they’ve been hard at work jumping in Spain over the winter, and if we see them begin the week on a sub-20 as they did at Burghley last year, they’ll put themselves in a serious position to try to shake off those demons. We’ve also got a returning five-star winner in Chilli Knight, who took Bicton’s pop-up CCI5* in 2021 with Gemma Stevens and has looked super since returning to the sport. Could this be the year for 2011 Burghley champion Caroline Powell to return to the top of the podium, this time with her excellent Greenacres Special Cavalier? Or could David Doel — second at Burghley last year and extraordinarily consistent at this level – become one of Badminton’s most popular winners with Galileo Nieuwmoed? Or have we failed to name the winner at all in this entire section? It’s a beautiful sort of Badminton, because truly, it could come from anywhere. Expect some great stories to unfold this week.

For the third year running, the BBC won’t be broadcasting Badminton — well, not in its entirety, anyway. You’ll be able to watch all the action, including trot-ups, by subscribing to Badminton TV for a one-off price of £19.99. This gives you access to the livestream, wherever you are in the world, as well as nearly 100 hours of archive footage from prior events, peaks behind the scenes, course previews, and profiles. If you’re in Britain, you’ll need to turn to BBC2 to watch the final competitors show jump live on Monday afternoon from 2.00 p.m.

We also recommend tuning in to Badminton Radio, which is broadcast live from the event all day, every day from 8.30 a.m. Helmed by a team of experts and riders alike, it features live commentary, interviews, insights into the competition, and much more. You can pick up a headset to tune in on site at the event, or tune into 87.7 FM locally or listen online here. Or, if you want to dive into previews, reviews, and reaction shows, head to the Eventing Podcast to get your fix.


#badmintonhorsetrials, #badmintonbound, #rolexgrandslam

Accounts: Badminton Horse TrialsCrossCountry App, Horse&Hound, FEI Eventing, and Equestrian Team GBR. Don’t forget to follow EN, toowe’ll be bringing you all the insanity in the middle you could possibly need! (And if you’d like to see the real behind-the-scenes life of an EN journo on tour, you certainly can. #shamelessplug) Want to know the juiciest stats throughout the competition? Make sure you follow EquiRatings.

Tuesday, 7 May:

  • 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. (4.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. EST): Voltaire Design Grassroots Championship Dressage – The Slaits

Wednesday, 8 May:

  • 8.30 a.m – 4.00 p.m. (approx.) (3.30 a.m. – 11.00 a.m. EST): Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Class – The Slaits
  • 9.00 a.m – 4.30 p.m. (4.00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. EST: Voltaire Design Grassroots Championship Dressage, Showjumping, and Cross Country
  • 4.30 p.m. (11.30 a.m. EST): First horse inspection – North front Badminton House

Thursday, 9 May:

  • 9.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. (4.30 a.m. – 7.30 a.m. EST): Morning dressage session
  • 12.30 p.m. (approx.) (7.30 a.m. EST): Dressage demo
  • 1.30 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. (8.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. EST): Afternoon dressage session

Friday, 10 May:

  • 9.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. (4.30 a.m. – 7.30 a.m. EST): Morning dressage session
  • 12.30 p.m. (approx.) (7.30 a.m. EST): Dressage demo
  • 1.30 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. (8.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. EST): Afternoon dressage session
  • Following dressage: Stallion display

Saturday, 11 May:

  • 10.00 a.m. (5.00 a.m. EST): Past winners’ parade and photo call – main arena
  • 10.30 a.m. (5.30 a.m. EST): Shetland Pony Grand National
  • 11.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. (6.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. EST): Cross-country

Sunday, 12 May: 

  • 8.30 a.m. (3.30 a.m. EST): Final horse inspection – North front Badminton House
  • 11.30 a.m. (6.30 a.m. EST): First showjumping session
  • 2.30 p.m. (9.30 a.m. EST): Parade of athletes
  • From 2.55 p.m. (9.55 a.m. EST): Final 20 to jump
  • 4.15 p.m. (11.15 a.m. EST): Prizegiving

Check out and bookmark EN’s exclusive Form Guide detailing the stories and stats of each horse and rider in this year’s field.

Meet the Horses and Riders of the 2024 Badminton Field



“I Never Thought It Was a Possibility”: Caroline Powell Wins MARS Badminton 2024

It All Comes Down to This – Let the Clenching Commence! – Live Blog from the Finale of MARS Badminton Horse Trials

One Horse Spun and Three Withdrawals at MARS Badminton Final Horse Inspection


An Emboldening Day for the Sport: Tim Price Takes the Lead on Vintage Badminton Cross-Country Day

It’s Satur-yay! Butts On Seats and Buckle Up – Live Blog from Cross Country Day at MARS Badminton Horse Trials


A 5* With a 4*-S in the Middle – Riders React to Cross Country at MARS Badminton Horse Trials

Friday Afternoon: Ros Retains Lead Amid Bum-Cam Reign of Terror

Reigning Champ Ros Canter Takes Friday Morning Badminton Lead

The 2024 MARS Badminton Field: At A Glance

Diamonds on the Soles of their Shoes – Live Blog from Dressage Day Two at MARS Badminton Horse Trials


Video Break: Badminton Goals and Memories with Laura Collett

Thursday Afternoon at Badminton: Tiana Coudray is Best of the Bunch; Bubby Retains Lead Overnight

“Being Here is a Dream Come True”: Comeback Queen Bubby Upton Takes Thursday Morning Lead at Badminton

Shine Bright Between the White Boards – Live Blog from Dressage Day One at MARS Badminton Horse Trials


Movers, Shakers, and Heart Horses: Team EN Makes Their Picks for Badminton

One Hold and an Eleventh-Hour Withdrawal, But All Accepted at MARS Badminton First Horse Inspection

Continental Influence, A Relocated Finish, and a Soggy Spring: Walk the 2024 Badminton Course with Eric Winter

Back to Badminton: Bubby Upton Defies the Odds, Again

Rolex Grand Slam Contender Oliver Townend Withdraws from Badminton

Drawn Order for MARS Badminton Horse Trials: Tom Jackson to Lead Off

Top Contender Among Latest Badminton Withdrawals

MARS Badminton Entries Revealed: 87 Pairs Accepted for 2024 Event

A Happy Anniversary Indeed: Badminton Prize Money Increased to £425,000 for 2024

Badminton Box Office Opens for 2024 Priority Tickets

EN’s coverage of MARS Badminton Horse Trials is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products, your go-to source for science-backed nutritional support across all types of horses, disciplines, and needs. Click here to learn more about what KPP can do for your horse — thank you for supporting our wonderful sponsors!

MARS Badminton Horse Trials [Website] [Entries] [Timetable] [Tickets] [Radio Badminton] [Livestream] [Cross Country Course] [Form Guide] [Ultimate Guide] [EN’s Coverage]

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