Good morning from Badminton Horse Trials! Between the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships, the four-star horses and riders arriving on the grounds, and spectators coming out in droves in anticipation of this afternoon’s first horse inspection, the grounds are positively buzzing. After last year’s beautiful forecast with record-break temperatures, we’re in for proper English weather this week, and we’re already seeing signs of what’s to come, as it rained quite a bit this morning and strong winds have been whipping all day. The sun has been peeking out from behind the clouds a bit, and hundreds of people are out enjoying the trade fair — a bit of bad weather would never keep the Brits away!
It’s a much different day that yesterday, when I arrived on the grounds late in the afternoon expecting plenty of activity, much like Tuesday at Rolex. But with most of the riders living so close to the grounds, many hadn’t even shipped in yet. No one was out schooling — also very different from Rolex when many of the riders were lessoning with David O’Connor on Tuesday — and just a handful of riders were out hacking in jump tack. Some grooms were out grazing horses in front of the spectacular Badminton house, but that was the extent of the action — so different from the States, when riders are hauling from hours away and hopping on for a school as soon as they get to the grounds.
Many riders were out schooling in the chilly, rainy weather throughout the morning, including all our North American pairs: Clark Montgomery with Universe and Loughan Glen, Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister, and Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master. The wind and rain made for very up horses, and if the current forecast holds, we’ll see similar conditions for both days of dressage. Glen handled the atmosphere like a pro, looking fantastic in his school with Clark. Jess said both Glen and Buzz have been feeling fantastic and settled in well at the grounds. Happy anniversary to Clark and Jess, who celebrated eight years yesterday!
Riddle Master was bouncing about for Rebecca, looking fighting fit and ready to tackle Guiseppe Della Chiesa’s new cross-country course. Ringwood Magister was also his usual up self for Tiana, who gave him a short school — just doing a bit of trot, canter and flying changes — after the rain stopped and the sun came out. He got out his bucks and hops and then pranced back to stabling. I caught up with Tiana for an interview later in the day — the video is uploading now — and she said she’d be concerned if Finn wasn’t on his toes at this stage in the game, so it’s all part of his normal routine at competitions.
We’re coming down to the wire before the trot up at 4:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. EST), and last-minute withdrawals are still rolling in — most notably Vittoria Panizzon and Borough Pennyz, one of Kate’s picks to do well this weekend. William Fox-Pitt has brought Parklane Hawk and Cool Mountain as his two mounts for the event. Be sure to watch the video below of Andrew Nicholson and Nereo, Mark Todd and Leonidas II, and Tiana and Finn schooling this morning. And Chinch is up to his mischievous ways as always, so be sure to follow along with his adventures on Instagram. Go eventing.