Colleen Rutledge — Why Badminton?


Photo by Samantha Clark

From Collen Rutledge:

Why Badminton?

One of the questions I’ve been asked quite frequently is why Badminton? Why not just go to Rolex?

For me the answer is one that I feel deep down, because it’s BADMINTON. I
mean come on, it’s the mother of all events. How can you explain
Badminton? Yes, it is one of the largest sporting events in the WORLD,
but it’s also, at least for me, the one that I have aspired to ride at
since before I knew what IT even was.

One of my first riding instructors was a competitor there years ago,(I
won’t mention how many for fear of retaliation and the fact that she
still scares me in the way that only the best childhood  memories can,
sheer public humiliation.) She told me her story and in my eight year
old mind made the decision, ‘I will go’. I was thrilled that she and her
family came to watch me at Burghley. But I still want Badminton.

Rolex was fantastic, and I will go back there because it holds a very
special place in my heart as my first. It hooked me and hooked me well. I
now know the feeling of true euphoria, and man, is that an addictive
drug. But as amazing as the whole of Rolex was, I know that there are
always improvements to be made. This years Rolex will be a fantastic
group of horses and riders, but the atmosphere overseas is totally
different.

Burghley was amazing, and it was another of my dreams that just happened
to coincide with my schedule and the fact that I have an absolutely
amazing horse. Lessons were learned, and an absolutely fantastic
experience was had, one that I got to share with my family. Everyone who
helped me get there, I thank you, and I know that without you, none of
this would be possible.

But Badminton, is and will always be the ultimate. Badminton, from
everyone I’ve talked to, takes a special horse. There are four star
horses, and then there are BADMINTON horses. Do I have one? God, I hope
so. Being my first four star horse, I know my perception of him is
skewed but I believe in him and as a team we will find out.

How many times a day can I check the Badminton website? Well, in the
past three weeks since entries closed, I’ve checked it at least 25 times
a day. Goodness, stalkerish much? The anticipation has been mind
numbing, I just want to know, AM I IN? Finally, the answer is ‘YES,We
are in’, so back to normal frantic and, frankly, slightly crazed
behavior as we continue preparing.

Flights are booked, stabling is arranged, transportation is available,
on to The Fork for our last outing before we head over. I’m making a
list and checking it two thousand times, but as I’ve always said, if I’m
meant to go, we’ll get there.

–C

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