The Big B Cometh: Your Guide to Every Competitor in the 2023 Badminton Horse Trials

There’s something so special about Badminton that even just getting your name onto that exalted entry list is the kind of achievement that should warrant some sort of medal. It takes a lifetime of work, of dreaming, of riding in the rain and hitting the deck and leaping over literal and metaphorical hurdles, and then, one day, if you’re very lucky, you get to submit that entry form and hack through that golden archway for the first time and know that no matter what happens next, you did it. You’ve made it. You’re here.

Now, we don’t have the budget to start getting precious metals carved into shapes for all this year’s competitors, much as they may deserve it. Instead, though, we like to undertake a serious labour of love in the form of our encyclopaedic form guide, because we believe that everyone — not just the hot favourites for a win — deserves their moment in the spotlight. And so this is for you, bold riders, loyal owners, hardworking grooms, and parents who provide packed lunches and watch between their fingers. Welcome to Badminton. And this is also for you, long-time, dedicated fans of the greatest sport in the world. Get comfy, pour yourself a glass of something nice, and get to know the horses and riders you’ll be cheering for this week, in drawn order, because we love convenience and ease of use nearly as much as we love breaking our fingers down to sad little stumps in service of our favourite pastime in the whole world: being total, unapologetic nerds.

Quick Scroll by Country (alphabetized by rider last names):

68: Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz (AUS)
51: William Levett and Huberthus AC (AUS)

62: Michael Winter and El Mundo (CAN)

70: Luc Château and Viens du Mont (FRA)
56: Arthur Duffort and Toronto D’Aurois (FRA)
43: Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit de La Loge (FRA)
47: Arthur Marx and Church’Ile (FRA)

20: Anna-Katharina Vogel and DSP Quintana P (GER)

64: Georgia Bartlett and Spano de Nazca (GBR)
50: Alexander Bragg and Quindiva (GBR)
71: Rosalind Canter and Lordships Graffalo (GBR)
12: Rosalind Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel (GBR)
29: Alice Casburn and Topspin (GBR)
17: Kirsty Chabert and Opposition Loire (GBR)
34: Caroline Clarke and Touch Too Much (GBR)
78: Laura Collett and Dacapo (GBR)
32: Felicity Collins and RSH Contend OR (GBR)
54: Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory (GBR)
61: William Fox-Pitt and Graffenacht (GBR)
9: Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope (GBR)
84: Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On (GBR)
53: Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google (GBR)
18: Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift (GBR)
25: Andrew James and Celtic Morning Star (GBR)
37: Richard Jones and Alfies Clover (GBR)
2: Fiona Kashel and WSF Carthago (GBR)
81: Fiona Kashel and Creevagh Silver De Haar (GBR)
49: Kitty King and Vendredi Biats (GBR)
63: Emily King and Valmy Biats (GBR)
66: Helen Martin and Andreas (GBR)
40: Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure (GBR)
48: Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser (GBR)
14: Harry Meade and Away Cruising (GBR)
72: Harry Meade and Tenareze (GBR)
45: Aaron Millar and KEC Deakon (GBR)
58: Selina Milnes and Iron (GBR)
21: Rose Nesbitt and EG Michealangelo (GBR)
69: Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance (GBR)
1: Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley (GBR)
26: Hector Payne and Dynasty (GBR)
39: Kylie Roddy and Carden Earl Grey (GBR)
31: Tom Rowland and Possible Mission (GBR)
19: James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse (GBR)
30: Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno (GBR)
15: Izzy Taylor and Happy Days (GBR)
79: Izzy Taylor and Graf Cavalier (GBR)
5: Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs (GBR)
75: Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR)
65: Bubby Upton and Cola (GBR)
44: Alexander Whewall and Ellfield Voyager (GBR)
27: Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain (GBR)

35: Susie Berry and Ringwood LB (IRL)
23: Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue (IRL)

22: Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG (LTU)

60: Lauren Innes and Global Fision M (NZL)
8: Dan Jocelyn and Cooley One To Many (NZL)
82: Dan Jocelyn and Blackthorn Cruise (NZL)
36: Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding (NZL)
41: Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier (NZL)
85: Tim Price and Coup de Coeur Dudevin (NZL)
11: Tim Price and Vitali (NZL)
38: Hollie Swain and Solo (NZL)

33: Felix Vogg and Cartania (SUI)

42: Katherine Coleman and Monbeg Senna (USA)
46: Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby (USA)

The Horses and Riders of Badminton 2023:

Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

1. Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Puissance – Oughterard Sky Cruise, by Cruising). Owned by Liz Magennis and Debbie Whalley. Bred by Gerard Lynch. Groomed by Sarah Murray, Kelly Reid, and Luke Burnett.

Wills goes out as pathfinder on Oughterard Cooley, who has the same sire and dam sire as his other ride, Arklow Puissance (making them half-brother-cousins, kind of!). “Rich”, as he’s known in the stable, made his CCI5* debut last year at Burghley, where he finished in 13th after a 32.4 in the dressage (his best score in this phase at any level), clear jumping cross country, adding only 10 time penalties, and then having an uncharacteristic three poles down in the final phase. Coming back after a break for the whole of the 2021 season, in the spring of 2022 he finished on his dressage in the 4*-L at Ballindenisk for 6th place, and other than retiring on course in the 4*-S at Barbury last year, you have to go all the way back to a 2* in 2018 to find any cross country jumping penalties on his record.

His dressage is a bit more varied — it’s in the 30s, but swings a bit from low to middle to high — but having delivered his best test at his first 5*, perhaps he’ll make that his trend at the top level — we’ll have to see how he finds the arena at Badminton. His latest form is at the top end — a 39.8 in the 4*-S at Burnham Market in his first outing of the 2023 season. He tends to add some time cross country, but more often than not, it’s not a lot, and he does have another FOD on his record in the 4*-S at Burgham in 2020, where he finished just outside the top 10. He’s jumped clear in the show jumping in around half of his 20 FEI starts, and when he doesn’t he’s more likely to have one pole than two.

With his cross country form, the likelihood is that he’ll be one of our leaderboard climbers. Will he improve on his 13th place at Burghley? There’s a very good chance.


Fiona Kashel and WSF Carthago. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

2. Fiona Kashel and WSF Carthago (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Cobra – Enigma, by Viking xx). Owned by Frank Breach. Bred by Francis Mulvihill. Groomed by Emma Copestick and Amy Chittenden.

Fiona Kashel has seen WSF Carthago from his first CCI1* in 2016 to his first 5* in 2022, where they had an impressive weekend to finish within the top ten at Luhmühlen, adding just a bit of time in both jumping phases to their dressage score of 30.9.

This partnership has also finished in the top ten at the 4* level, finishing ninth at Barbury Castle in the CCI4*-S in 2021, and finishing fifth at Ballindenisk in the CCI4*-L in 2021. The duo consistently delivers dressage scores in the low to mid 30s, but they’ve seen a few jumping and time penalties added to their score. Most recently, at their second 5* at Pau, they added both jumping and time penalties from cross country and show jumping to their 31.5 dressage score to finish 29th.

As they enter their third 5* competition together, they’ll be looking to deliver the quality across all phases that we’ve seen them bring at Luhmühlen before.


Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

5. Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs (GBR)

Fifteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Chillout x Kilila, by Cult Hero). Owned by Paul and Diana Ridgeon. Bred by Maria Keating.

Oliver Townend’s direct reserve for Pratoni, Swallow Springs, is also one of the clear frontrunners in this field, despite only joining Oliver’s string late in 2021 after the retirement of Andrew Nicholson. He made his five-star debut at Burghley with Andrew aboard back in 2018, finishing third, and followed it up with fifth at Badminton the next spring. He was also second at Bramham CCI4*-L in 2018 — despite being chased by a dog in his showjumping round — and won Barbury CCI4*-S twice. With Oliver aboard, he was tenth at Blenheim CCI4*-L — their first FEI event together — and won Burnham Market and Burgham CCI4*-S last year. His third place finish at Badminton last spring was impressive, but not without its dramas: the pair had a wobble early on in the course at the final element of the Quarry, and were subsequently held for over half an hour, restarted, and then eliminated retrospectively for what appeared to be a contravention of the flag rule. Ultimately, actually, it turned out that they’d been mistakenly eliminated for a horse fall, which was removed once contested, but that flag footage was a stark reminder that the specifics of that particular bit of the rule book are a little bit of a grey area even now.

Despite that, though, this is a very, very good horse who’s been produced to attack the toughest courses in a clever, economical way. He’s arguably one of the fastest horses in this field, and he’s extraordinarily reliable. His first-phase scores are impressive, too, generally hovering in the mid 20s but dipping well below them, too, and he’s a a good show jumper, though prone to a rail in a long-format. If he leaves them all up, and if Oliver opts to bring him, this could well be our winner.


Dan Jocelyn and Cooley One To Many. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

8. Dan Jocelyn and Cooley One To Many (NZL)

Fifteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Jack of DIamonds – Taffin, by Delamain xx). Owned by Shaun and Lucy Allinson, Francesca Clapham, and Carole King. Bred by Ronnie Kelly. Groomed by Josh Levi.

Cooley One Too Many – Jack, to his friends – was initially competed by his owner, Francesca Clapham, before Daisy Berkley took over the ride, all the way through from Novice to CCI4*. Dan just took over the ride just last year. Despite their relatively short relationship, they have already started to make their mark with an impeccable cross country record and various notable placings, including 15th place in the CCI4*-L at Bramham, sixth place in the CCI3*-S at Wellington International, and a top 30 finish at Blenheim CCI4*-L.

They have struck off on the right foot in 2023 too, finishing in 12th place in the CCI4*-S at Thoresby Spring Carnival of Eventing in March, and eighth in the Open Intermediate at Kelsall Hill after a steady double clear. Unfortunately, his show jumping record is not as consistent as his cross country, and although he has posted dressage scores in the 20s, they average around the 30 or higher mark, meaning that Jack is probably not going to break any records on his 5* debut – but his bravery across country, coupled with Dan’s many years of experience, should see them finish safe and well. Indeed, given their consistently improving form last year, this could be one to watch for the future and a pleasing addition to Dan’s ever increasing string of horses.


Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope. Photo by Shelby Allen.

9. Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Porter Rhodes xx – Brown Sue, by Flagmount King). Owned by Marek Sebestak and Pippa Funnell. Bred by Jack Murphy. Groomed by Emily Gibson and Lily Wilson.

Pippa Funnell MBE – multiple Olympic, European and World medalist, first (and only in the long format) winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, Wesko Equestrian Foundation mentor, children’s author, and video game star – comes to Badminton double-handed this year.

Mr. Reliable, Majas Hope, has already taken team gold at the European Championships in 2019, proving to be a capable pathfinder for the team. Consistent and genuine, he’s a trooper who may not be the fastest horse in the field, but will get the job done. At Burghley last year he was placed 16th after adding 12.8 cross country time penalties to his 28.2 dressage, with an uncharacteristically expensive show jumping round seeing him roll four poles; in 2018 he was 13th adding only 8.8 in total to a dressage of 35.2. At last year’s Kentucky, he was 14th, posting a 35.2 in the dressage and coming home with 11.2 time faults in the cross country and 4 in the jumping. At the pop-up 5* at Bicton in 2021, it was a similar story; some cross country time and a pole – he finished fifth that day. He was 16th in his Badminton run in 2019, with 31 in the dressage, 18.4 cross country time and 0.4 time in the jumping.

With five 5* completions under his belt, he’s a safe bet for a clear cross country round and, thanks to Pippa’s time and patience in his flat work, his dressage scores have got better and better. We can likely expect sub-30; we’ll have to wait and see how tight the time is come cross country day.


Tim Price and Vitali. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

11. Tim Price and Vitali (NZL)

Thirteen-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contender – Noble Lady I, by Heraldik xx). Owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore and Tim Price. Bred by Guenther Fielmann. Groomed by Meggan Hodder and Kerryn Edmans.

Another 2021 Olympian, Vitali comes to Badminton with pretty strong 5* form, including a third at last year’s Burghley, and tenth at Luhmuhlen before that – on his CCI5* debut, it should be noted. Sadly, the number one spot often tends to slip from their reach thanks to Vitali’s sporadic show jumping record. He has proven on more than one occasion that he can leave them all standing, but unfortunately he has a sneaky tendency to have a pole – or three – when it really matters. Indeed, their first 5* could have ended with a podium finish had he picked his knees up a little higher – they were lying second after cross country only to drop right down to tenth. But, he is piloted by the current FEI World Number One, so if anyone can turn a weak phase around, it is Tim.

The dressage phase, on the other hand, is not something that Tim needs to worry about with this horse – since taking him on in 2021 their score has rarely dipped out of the 20’s, dropping lower and lower on recent runs, including a 21.3 at Burghley 2022, leaving them in second place after the first phase. Ditto with their cross country record, so if their stint on the Spanish Sunshine tour this winter has honed Vitali’s only weakness, this combination could be serious contenders for the top spot. Watch this space!


Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel. Photo by Hannah Cole.

12. Rosalind Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old British Sporthorse mare (Jumbo – Cornish Queen, by Rock King). Owned by Kate James and Annie Makin. Bred by Pennie Wallace. Groomed by Sarah Charnley and Travis Leigh.

Another exciting horse from Ros Canter’s yard, Pencos Crown Jewel – better known as “Jasmine” – is actually a half-sister to Ros’ other mount, Lordship’s Graffalo. The two horses share a dam, Cornish Queen, who is a daughter of CCI5* mare Cornish Faer. Top-level talent certainly runs in this family of horses.

This year’s Badminton will be Jasmine’s third start at the 5* level, and her first go at this venue. She finished fifth at Bicton in 2021 in her first start at the level, and eleventh at Burghley last fall after an uncharacteristic three rails dropped her down the leaderboard in the last phase. There’s no doubt Ros will be looking to keep the jumps in the cups and improve on that finish here. With dressage scores averaging in the high 20s, it’s unlikely that Jasmine and Ros will be at the top after the first phase, but they shouldn’t be too far off.

Heading into the second phase, we know that Jasmine is a tenacious mare with an efficient gallop – just the type to potentially make a big move up the leaderboard after cross country. She did just that at Bramham last year, which pushed her up to an eventual second place finish in the world’s toughest CCI4*-L. Similarly, this is Badminton – it won’t be a dressage show, and Ros could potentially find both of her mounts very comfortably placed by the final day.


Harry Meade and Away Cruising. Photo by Peter Nixon.

14. Harry Meade and Away Cruising (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Cruise On – Parklands Princess, by Able Albert xx). Owned by Jane Dear and Charlotte Opperman. Bred by Eamon O’Flaherty. Groomed by Jess Errington and Molly Parkin.

The gorgeous grey Away Cruising brings forward a wealth of experience to this year’s edition of Badminton, having completed here twice out of their five CCI5* appearances. He was sidelined for a handful of years, but returned to the top level at Badminton last spring. His 29th place finish in 2022 was a good mark off his best performance at the level, a sixth place at Burghley back in 2018.

“Spot” is very capable of a sub-30 score, but he hasn’t quite cracked that threshold in the last year which will make it difficult to strike out against such an impressive field. This will be his sixth 5* appearance, and the Irish-bred gelding is quite reliable to clear the fences, but their end result may come down to just how much Harry can put the pedal down. Come Sunday, at least one rail is nearly guaranteed to be added to their score, but if the first two phases go to plan they have a shout for top 20.

Badminton’s a local event for Harry, who’s the son of eventing legend Richard Meade, and it’s full of special memories for him beyond the competition results as well – he proposed to his now wife, Rosie, on a course walk here in 2010.


Izzy Taylor and Happy Days. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

15. Izzy Taylor and Happy Days (GBR)

Eleven-year-old British-bred Sporthorse gelding (Cevin Z – Vale Brook, by Tudorville xx). Owned by Alex Colquhoun, Lavinia Taylor, and Caroline Wilson. Bred by Emma Humphrey.

Busy Izzy has three horses entered for Badminton this year, though she’ll have to choose two to ultimately bring forward for the competition. Her own potential pathfinders include Happy Days, who made his CCI5* debut at Pau last season, finishing 21st after a reasonably slow clear across the country and a three-rail final round. Since then, we’ve seen him out at a very wet Thoresby — where Izzy withdrew her whole string after dressage — and a rather dryer Burnham Market, where he finally got a run in and finished fourth in the 4*-S, his best four-star result yet.

He’s very much a low-30s kind of horse, though he’s had a couple of trips down into the 20s, including a very good 25.9 at Burgham CCI4*-S in 2022 and a 29.3 at Blenheim CCI4*-L in 2021. Though he won’t be a big winner this week, if Izzy chooses to run him, it could be a big milestone in his career – this is just his third full season eventing, and it’ll be great fun to see the prodigious young gelding tackle such a big challenge.


Kirsty Chabert and Opposition Loire. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

17. Kirsty Chabert and Opposition Loire (GBR)

Twelve-year-old British Sporthorse mare (Opposition Heracles – Brooks Varnaval Spiritus, by Carnaval Drum). Owned by Kirsty Chabert and Daisy Chain Syndicate. Bred by J. Johnson. Groomed by Izzi Kirk.

Last year’s pathfinder, and just-touched-down Kentucky competitor, Kirsty Chabert brings forward just one mount for 2023, CCI5* first-timer Opposition Loire. While the 12-year-old mare – known in the barn as Daisy – might be new to the level, she has a long and solid partnership with Kirsty, who has been in the irons for all of her nineteen international starts. In fact, Kirsty has known the mare for her entire life and also competed the sire – Daisy is a product of Kirsty’s father’s breeding program.

Although Daisy’s international record shows a handful of XC penalties as she’s climbed the levels, the pair’s last 4*-L start was a strong one, adding only a few time penalties to their 28.1 dressage score to finish third at Bramham. Kirsty has taken her time developing Daisy, dedicating extra effort over the last couple years to slowly build her strength and conditioning. “She looks much stronger in her top line,” Kirsty notes. “She’s a horse that puts in so much effort at any phase and any time, that it takes its toll and she needs that time to recover, and I made the right decision because she feels mega this year.”

With an average dressage score around the high 20s to low 30s, it’s unlikely that they’ll be placed near the top of the pack after the first phase, but Kirsty will be looking to use her depth of experience to get a confident completion under this mare’s belt in her first time round Badminton.


Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

18. Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift (GBR)

Twelve-year-old Irish Sporthorse stallion (Shannodale Sarco St. Ghyvan – Lucky Crest, by Lucky Gift xx). Owned by Patricia Davenport, Sarah Webb, and Milly Simmie. Bred by Jeanette Glynn. Groomed by Chloe Whiteman.

Previously piloted by Georgie Campbell, Capels Hollow Drift became a ride for Tom Jackson in 2018. Shortly after beginning their partnership, Tom rode the Irish Sporthorse stallion to runner-up position in the Seven-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers fall of 2018.

Since then, the duo has found success through the CCI5* level, first attempting the level at Badminton in 2022, where they delivered a 30.3 in dressage, adding 10 time on cross country, and a rail in show jumping to finish in sixteenth place. At their second attempt at the level at Burghley in the fall of 2022, they added only 3.6 time penalties to their 28.9 dressage score for an impressive second place finish on a 32.5.

In their first FEI outing of 2023, we saw them withdraw from Thoresby Park’s 4* during the incredibly sloppy weekend in a few weeks back, but finished twentieth at Burnham Market in April’s 4*-S, adding 14.8 time to their 29.4 dressage score. Now going in to their fifth season together, this pair is consistent and bold across the country, as they have seen only one cross country jump fault within their partnership when they added a 20 at the 4* in Arville in 2019. Between their consistency on cross country day, and their typical dressage scores hovering around the 30s, this duo has shown themselves to be fierce competition.


James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

19. James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse (GBR)

Eleven-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (breeding unknown). Owned by James Rushbrooke. Groomed by Emma Grange.

26-year-old Yorkshireman James has had an exciting 18 months. He made his team debut in October of 2021, riding as part of the victorious British line-up at Boekelo CCIO4*-L, and then came forward for his 5* debut aboard one of the youngest horses in last year’s Badminton field. They finished 43rd after a steady clear, and then have since picked up an eighth place finish in Little Downham’s autumn CCI4*-S and a top twenty placing in Thoresby’s spring CCI4*-S.

The “slightly weird” Milchem Eclipse was intended as a sales horse for James, who also moonlights as a Master for the Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt, but earned his right to stick around on James’s Leeds yard after proving his game, gutsy knack for jumping solid fences.

This will be his 24th FEI start, and with just two blips on his record thus far, he’s certainly proven himself as a proper sort. He’s naturally efficient, and plenty honest — any wobbles so far have certainly looked more like green, educational ones, and he’s not had an error in an FEI cross-country phase in over a year. He’s also a handy show jumper, and should use himself well on the final day. His two rails here last year were outliers. His dressage, which fluctuates between the low and high-30s, will keep him out of the hunt early on, but if he gets in a good, attacking rhythm from the early stages of the course and James decides to try to catch the minute markers, we could see a serious climb — particularly as their hunting background will really help them out on this course.


Anna-Katharina Vogel and DSP Quintana P. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

20. Anna-Katharina Vogel and DSP Quintana P (GER)

Sixteen-year-old German Sporthorse mare (Quality – Lady Sunshine P 2, by Landor S). Owned by Karin Vogel and the rider. Bred by Pfitzmann GbR.

Germany’s sole entry this year comes from Anna-Katharina and her spicy, speedy Quintana, who stepped up to the level at Pau last year, finishing eleventh. Though they might be lower-mileage where 5*s are concerned — a pretty common thing for continental riders, particularly Germans, whose focus is so often on team pathways — they’ll offer up a treat for spectators whether they’re familiar with the pair or not.

Though they won’t cause a stir in the first phase, where we’d be looking to them to deliver a mid-30s mark, it’s the cross-country where they really shine: when they made their European Championships debut in 2019, riding as individuals for their country, they handily delivered the quickest clear of the day, beating Michi Jung and Chipmunk, Ingrid and Hale Bob, and last year’s Badminton winners, Laura Collett and London 52 in that phase. They are prone to a rail on the final day, and they duly took that at Pau last year, but this year’s tough, almost European Badminton course looks tailor made to help the pair climb.

Anna-Katharina, for what it’s worth, is a great role model for the hard-working pseudo-amateur rider this week: she’s a state-certified structural draughtsman for an engineering firm, and balances that tough role with training her small string of horses and teaching a few riders, too. She’s had Quintana since she picked her up from the breeder at the age of five – the mare was actually her second horse after a string of successes riding ponies on the German under-16s teams – and that long, fruitful partnership will serve them well as they tackle their biggest challenge yet.


Rose Nesbitt and EG Michaelangelo. Photo by Hannah Cole Photography.

21. Rose Nesbitt and EG Michealangelo (GBR)

Twelve-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Chellthago Z – Jaspers Flower, by Ojasper). Owned by John and Fran Nesbitt. Bred by Michael Beattie. Groomed by Alex Jackson.

Rose, who trains with Caroline Moore, is no stranger to top-level competition, having had a double win aged 12 at the Pony Club Championships, and a team gold at the Pony European Championships, on her way through the ranks to CCI5*.

Rose partnered up with “Jack” – as EG Michealangelo is known at home – when he was a five-year-old and they’ve enjoyed a successful run up the levels together. This will be their second 5* and second Badminton – last year they finished in 48th place. It all began with a solid dressage of 33.3, with 20 jumping and 30 time added in the cross country, and 4 jumping and 3.2 time on the final day.

Realistically, Rose will be aiming for the low-30s in the first phase, but they have gone sub-30 – in the 4*-S at Barbury Castle in 2022 and the 4*-L at Blenheim the same year – although they also creep up to the mid-30s too sometimes. Their most recent run, in the 4*-S at Burnham Market, saw them add only time penalties to their dressage of 32, ending on 54.4 in 37th place. Prior to that, they were third in the 3*-S at Bicton, again adding only time to their first phase score. They’ve jumped clear cross country in all but one of their completions – the 20 they had at last year’s Badminton – but they’re still chasing the clear inside the time form they showed at the lower levels.

They are likely to have at least one pole in the show jumping, although they have left them up in their last two runs, so Jack is certainly capable of being careful on his day. Catching the time is something that doesn’t always come easily to them in the show jumping too, but the most they’ve added is the 3.2 at Badminton last year. For their second 5* together, Rose will be looking for a good solid completion, a fun ride round the cross country and perhaps an improvement on last year’s placing.


Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

22. Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG (LIT)

Twelve-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Come Back II – Nione Fortuna, by Abantos). Owned by Mogens and Birgitte Kloeve-Mogensen and the rider. Bred by M & B Klove-Mogensen. Groomed by Helene Stenshoj.

Loyal readers of EN’s European coverage will know this pair of Lithuanian history-makers well: we’re huge fans of kind, brave, and game Commander VG, and for good reason. Not only is he very talented across the country, he also has the sweetest soul, and can be spotted at events giving Aistis’s young daughter pony rides, looking as placid as a hunter.

This will be a fifth CCI5* and first Badminton for Commander VG, who made his debut as a nine-year-old at Pau in 2020 and was eleventh at Luhmühlen in 2021. He’s also twice represented his country at Championship level, finishing just outside the top twenty at the Europeans in 2021 and picking up a very rare Big E at the World Championships at Pratoni last year. Generally, we expect a very good cross country performance from the horse, who has earned himself a reputation for being reliable and fast in this phase. It’s the other two phases that can be tricky: in dressage, he’s not at all averse to dipping a toe into the 40s, though his scores have been trending downwards and in his last three runs, he’s been in the 36-39 bracket — which, if you can stay on it at Badminton, actually isn’t a bad place to be. In his 5* debut in 2020 he toppled a whopping nine rails, but that phase, too, has improved significantly, and in his two internationals this year, he’s had a clear round and a one-rail round, which feels very promising.

Aistis has waited a long time to make his Badminton debut, and this is a serious horse to be mounted on for an Eric Winter track. Prepare to fall in love (especially if they bring out their Ukrainian braids again — Danish-based Aistis is very proud of his Lithuanian heritage and a staunch supporter of the neighbouring country that has been under siege by Russia).


Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

23. Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue (IRL)

Fourteen-year-old British-Bred Sporhorse gelding (Jaguar Mail – Rock Me Baby, by Rock King). Owned by The Salty Syndicate and the rider. Bred by Mellon Stud. Groomed by Francesca Denning.

Originally sent to Tokyo as travelling reserves for the Irish team in 2021, Austin and “Salty” stepped up in exceptional style following the withdrawal of Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua and ultimately delivered the best Irish performance of the week, finishing in a very respectable 13th place. That was despite a 38 dressage that was much higher than they’d usually produce – they’re a low-to-mid-30s pair that can occasionally sneak into the 20s, generally speaking. But their exceptional cross-country performance, in which they added nothing to that first-phase score, saw them climb – and even a rail down on the final day didn’t hamper them much, as the showjumping proved tricky across the board.

This is Salty’s third 5* start, and though he didn’t complete his debut at Pau in 2020 because he was spun at the final horse inspection, he did finish the cross-country clear inside the time. Last year, he came to Badminton and finished eighth after adding nothing to his 35.9 dressage across the country, and just 0.4 time penalties in showjumping in a very impressive performance indeed. Then, he went to Pratoni and was quick and clear again for a top twenty finish. That’s classic Salty: he’s reliable and he’s fast, and those two qualities tend to make up a lot of the ground he loses in the first phase. He’ll have a tough job on his hands to eclipse some of the horses in this field, who can lay down a sub-30 and stay on it, but you can expect him to work his way up the board anyway – and his limited early-season runs have looked good so far, with a top ten finish at Burnham Market CCI4*-S, where they finished on their dressage score of 36.7.


Andrew James and Celtic Morning Star. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

25. Andrew James and Celtic Morning Star (GBR)

Twelve-year-old British Sporthorse gelding (Chilli Morning – Rebels Riches, by Rich Rebel xx). Owned by Michelle Harries. Bred by M Harries. Groomed by Rachel James.

Andrew James has ridden Celtic Morning Star from his first CCI1* in 2017 to his first 5* in 2022. At the 4* and 5* levels, the duo is consistent in delivering a high 30s or low 40s dressage score, and has been consistent on cross country – only seeing a jump penalty at Blenheim’s 4*L, where they picked up a 20 prior to retiring, and at the 5* in Burghley in 2022, where they saw a 20 and some time. While they had seen more jump penalties in the show jumping, the partnership seems to be improving in the phase, picking up fewer jump penalties in the recent years.

After finishing 23rd in their first 5* with a cross country penalty, Andrew and “Joey” started the 2023 strong with a sixteenth place finish in the 4*-S at Thoresby Park, adding only cross country time to their dressage score despite the sloppy weather. Coming off of a successful weekend and looking to build upon their first 5* outing together, we can expect to see Andrew and Joey working to maintain that consistency that they’re developing in all three phases as they solidify their success as a 5* partnership.


Hector Payne and Dynasty. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

26. Hector Payne and Dynasty (GBR)

Fifteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Whitesnake – Cleopatra, by Calvados). Owned by Jeremy and Judith Skinner, and David and Margie Hall. Bred by ERM Sieling & CJ Kloet. Groomed by Sophie Woolford and Yaz Olsson-Sanderson.

Another rider who started out in the Pony Club, Hector Payne comes forward with jumping bred Dynasty for their fifth CCI5* together. “Raffles” as he’s known at home, started out with William Fox-Pitt, who Hector was working for at the time of William’s accident in 2015. Hector took over the reins of a number of William’s horses while he was recuperating – Dynasty was one of them. When William was back in the saddle, he offered the ride to Hector on a permanent basis and the pair have enjoyed a successful run up the rankings from 2* to 5* over the last few years. As well as some great results, Dynasty has also gifted Hector with a new set of teeth courtesy of one of his “little moments”. William’s influence is evident in Hector’s softness and tact in the saddle, producing educated, highly watchable rounds.

The pair’s first 5* came at Burghley in 2018 where they started out with a very respectable 33.8 in the dressage, followed by jumping clear cross country, adding 25.6 time. They withdrew before the final horse inspection that day. They returned to the level at Pau two years later, where they had their first 5* completion, scoring 34.4 in the first phase, but having an uncharacteristic 20 jumping penalties in the cross country. Hector spent most of the 2021 season out with a broken femur, but he was back at 5* for Badminton in 2022 where he finished 42nd after adding 26.4 time penalties in the cross country to his dressage of 33.8, and rolling three poles in the show jumping. Their best result came with a return to France and a 3rd place finish at Pau. They were speedy across the country that day, adding just 1.2 time penalties to their 30.9 dressage, and a further 0.4 on the final day. Their most recent form suggests a low-30s dressage is likely, but they have sneaked into the 20s at the 4*-S level. In 28 FEI completions, they’ve added cross country jumping penalties on only three occasions, and although they’re not always the swiftest, Pau last year proved that they can come very close to the time at 5*. On the final day, they are prone to rolling a pole, but it’s more likely to be one than two, although sometimes it is three. When it’s his day though, Dynasty can be careful over the colored poles, as he proved in his 3rd place round at Pau. With the experience they now have at the level, and his success at Pau last year, there’s no doubt that Hector will be aiming to be competitive this time out at Badminton.

As well as working for William Fox-Pitt, Hector has also spent time with Pippa and William Funnell and Ian and Heidi Woodhead. When he’s not riding, you may well find practicing his number one talent – shimmying up a rope. Or he may be playing golf, or watching racing, rugby or Formula 1. Fun fact: Hector’s dad and grandmother were the owners of William Fox-Pitt’s Burghley winner Ballincoola.


Francis Whittington and Purple Rain. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

27. Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Arthos R – Wynona VWG’S, by Niveau). Owned by Ro Audley, Belinda Drummond, Amy Drummond, and Beryl Chaplin. Bred by D. Gjaltema. Groomed by Ellie Roe.

What better barn name for DHI Purple Rain than “Prince”? It’s basically a requirement. This KWPN gelding has an interesting FEI record, with his biggest challenge being the show jumping phase. Last year, Francis told Horse & Hound that “[Prince] can go in, start jumping really nicely, then have a moment and have the next four, five, or six fences down, and then carry on with a nice clear. It comes from his anxiety.”

Despite having had only one cross-country obstacle penalty in the horse’s FEI career, this duo’s most recent CCI5* attempt didn’t quite go to plan, having retired on the cross country course at Burghley. However, Prince’s 2021 Bicton 5* run was excellent. The pair would have been in the top ten, if it weren’t for four rails down in the show jumping phase.

For Prince’s first run at Badminton, you can expect a dressage score in the low to mid-30s and a solid cross country round with a few time faults. The wild card on the books will be the show jumping phase, which all depends on Prince’s anxious nature, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for a double clear.


Alice Casburn and Topspin. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

29. Alice Casburn and Topspin (GBR)

Fifteen-year-old Anglo European Sporthorse gelding (Zento – Capriati xx, by El Conquistador xx). Owned and bred by Caroline Casburn. Groomed by Dave Burton.

At just 21, Alice will be the youngest rider in this year’s field – but that’s hardly likely to put any pressure on her. She’s fielded that accolade a couple of times previously — such as at Pau in 2021, where she finished in the top twenty with two classy clears at just 19, or at Badminton last year, where she was also a top twenty finisher and won the highest-placed under-25 prize, the highest-placed owner/breeder prize, and the Glentrool trophy for making the biggest climb up the leaderboard. At Burghley in the autumn, they proved their prowess once again, taking on the ultimate climber course at Burghley and pinning down a very respectable fifth place as a result. Oh, and they popped in to the Young Rider European Championships in the middle of the season, too, winning team gold and individual bronze.

Alice’s story doesn’t begin and end with the fact that she’s prodigiously talented for one so young — it’s also a great family epic. Lanky Topspin is owned, and was bred by, her mother Caroline, a former Team GB member who competed the gelding’s grandmother to Advanced, and he still lives in the very same stable he was born in. He originally competed in showjumping with Caroline, because he was deemed too sharp and quirky for Alice, then a young teenager. But a few years ago, they came together and began their eventing career – which is still a fledgling thing, despite its many major successes – and also competed in jumping, even contesting some Puissance classes.

Their first phase is their weakest: they can score from the mid-to-high 30s, though they did dip as low as 33.6 at Burghley last year. On cross-country, though, they’re super-fast, reliable, and fun to watch – and on Sunday, they’ll be ones to watch, as their jumping experience means that it’s rare to see them topple a pole. They’ve had 21 clear rounds out of 24 career FEI starts.


Gemma Tattersall and Jalapeno III. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

30. Gemma Stevens and Jalapeno (GBR)

Fifteen-year-old British-bred Sporthorse mare. (Chilli Morning – Maiden Voyage, by Shaab xx). Owned by Chris Stone. Bred by Nick Gauntlett. Groomed by Charlotte Overton.

It’s hard not to imagine Gemma (née Tattersall) experiencing a serious swell of emotion as she unloads the smart, spicy “Jala” at Badminton’s historic stables for her first run at the event. That’ll be for two reasons: firstly that it still must feel so odd for Gemma, as it does for all of us fans, not to have the late, great Arctic Soul at this event – and secondly, because this talented horse is finally making the trip here after so many hurdles along the way.

Jala was originally competed to CCI4*-L by Belgian Olympian Karin Donckers, and was bought for Gemma to ride in the 2018/2019 off-season by longtime supporter Chris Stone. It was clear from the offset what a serious horse they’d bought into — but along the way, Jala has been plagued by little niggles that saw her sit out all of 2020, most of 2021, and half of 2022, too. They did manage a 5* debut for the mare in 2019 at Pau, though Gemma opted to withdraw her from the holding box on Sunday morning, which was really the start of that prolonged hiatus. Now, though, she’s back – and from what we’ve seen, she looks better than ever. While Gemma was one of many to opt to withdraw from the Thoresby torrent, their 27.4 on the flat was very competitive, and they followed it up with a 26.9, and then 9.2 time penalties, for eighth place at Burnham Market CCI4*-S last month.

Will Jala be a Badminton horse? It’s hard to say until she’s in the thick of it — but expect her to find herself in the mix after her dressage test, and expect Gemma to give her a gutsy, go-for-it ride in pursuit of that all-important clear. This could be a very big week for Jala.


Tom Rowland and Possible Mission. Photo by Libby Law.

31. Tom Rowland and Possible Mission (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Temple Clover – Bahrain Supreme, by Ricardo Z). Owned by Robin Patrick. Bred by Richard Barron Jr. Groomed by Georgina Dobbin.

The aptly-named “Hunter” was purchased from a hunting yard in Ireland when he was five, by which point he already had two years’ experience jumping colossal drains, banks, and gates. Unsurprisingly, he’s a reliable cross-country horse, although he does find showjumping a bit spooky. The pair tackled their first CCI5* in 2018 at Burghley, finishing a very creditable 27th after a slow clear. That was enough to qualify them for Badminton, where they finished 36th, again delivering a steady clear. The horse was just a twelve-year-old then, and it was one of the nasty knock-on effects of the pandemic that we saw those young, early-career 5* horses coming back as very low-mileage teenagers, having lost a couple of valuable seasons in the prime of their competitive careers.

Hunter sat out 2020, but returned in 2021 to finish seventh in a hot field at Houghton Hall CCIO4*-S, adding nothing to their dressage score of 32.3 and proving that they do have speed on their side if they need it. Last year, they finished 46th at Badminton after knocking a safety device, and then had an uncharacteristic tumble at Burghley. They wrapped their year with third at Little Downham CCI4*-s and this year, they’ve prepped with a steady clear at Thoresby for a top thirty finish. They know each other well now and will mean business heading out of the start.


Felicity Collins and RSH Contend OR. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

32. Felicity Collins and RSH Contend OR (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Nintender – Coulonia, by Toulon). Owned by Avrina Milton and Vicky Collins. Bred by Gestuet Lewitz. Groomed by Frankie Marsom.

5* eventing is in Felicity Collin’s blood. The 25-year-old’s mother, who also is part owner of her Badminton mount, competed to the CCI5* level in the 1990s, and now the two of them have partnered to run a busy yard in East Sussex where they are successful in breeding and producing horses.

Felicity has made her way through the British Eventing program, remarkably having a horse at each of the national age finals. She has produced RSH Contend OR up the levels and has racked up a very impressive record. They achieved the Under-21 national title at Houghton in 2017, and then a 13th place finish at that summer’s Young Rider European Championships. That autumn, she moved him up to CCI4*-S, and he finished 14th in the eight- and nine-year-old class at Blenheim. In 2018, he was clear around Blenheim’s CCI4*-L, and this year, the pair finished 15th in the Young Rider Europeans, at which the team won gold and the dynamic duo were chosen as pathfinders. They made their 5* debut at Pau in 2019, and though they didn’t complete, they did go home with a large amount of knowledge and education. Since then, we’ve seen them finish in the top ten in CCI4*-S classes at Barbury and Burnham Market, and a tenth place finish at their return to the 5* level at Bicton.

They contested their first Badminton in 2022, where they finished 21st, and last fall they finished fourth at Blenheim CCI4*-L, where they’d rerouted after retiring on course at Burghley. After a good warm-up this spring with a go at the CCI4*-S at Burnham Market International – adding just a bit of time in each of the jumping phases – this reliable pair should be looking to have a crack at climbing the leaderboard throughout the weekend – especially on Sunday seeing as they have averaged just one rail a year since 2018.


Felix Vogg and Cartania. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

33. Felix Vogg and Cartania (SUI)

Twelve-year-old Holsteiner mare (Cartani – C Tenda, by Clinton). Owned by Phoenix Eventing S.à.r.l. and the rider. Bred by Koch Guenter.

Casual fans might be forgiven for associating Swiss superstar Felix with his stable star and Luhmühlen CCI5* winner, Colero – but just behind him in his string is the exceptional Cartania, who’s been his ride of choice for both the European Championships in 2021 and the World Championships at Pratoni last year. It’s not hard to see why, either: the clever, catty mare is quick on her feet and tidy over a fence, and although her tendency to squeak up into the 30s might have her off the boil in the first phase, she’s very good at adding negligible amounts of penalties to that along the way. She’s still relatively inexperienced but as she learns, she’s becoming more consistently quick – and eighth place at the Euros and fourteenth individually at the Worlds looks very good indeed. She won’t have jumped anything like Badminton before, but its more European feel this year should suit her well.

Felix might be Swiss, but he’s also pretty German — he was born and raised there, and he’s spent much of his life training there, too. His major mentor is Michael Jung, with whom he’s based himself for much of his career, but he also works closely with Bettina Hoy to sharpen up the first phase, and he spent a year based in the States with Phillip Dutton, too. His five-star win came on his 32nd birthday, which is a pretty sweet present, we reckon.


Caroline Clarke and Touch Too Much. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

34. Caroline Clarke and Touch Too Much (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Imperial Hights – Touch of Dutch, by Douglas). Owned by Penny and Caroline Clarke. Groomed by Penny Clarke.

Hopefully, her third time entering Badminton will be the charm. The 28-year-old amateur rider may have sent in her entry two other times, but she has yet to even trot down centerline. For Caroline, this Badminton will be a family affair, as she’ll be looking for her first CCI5* completion on Touch Too Much, who she owns alongside her mother – who will be pulling double duty as owner and groom for the weekend. The mother-daughter duo will also be joined by Caroline’s brother in the barns – a familiar practice since the three work together regularly in the yard as the young dentist balances a professional life with keeping a string of horses fit.

She managed to earn the qualifications for her first 5* at Burghley – where the pair retired on course – while she was attending university, competing on the weekends and relying on her mother to keep the horse in work during the week. She now reflects that the big galloping course wasn’t best suited for her nimble horse, and uses the learning experience to be selective about where she runs.

“Possum” was bought as a four-year-old from the Goresbridge sale when Caroline was just sixteen. They’ve climbed through levels of eventing together, and although Caroline has described Possum as “lazy” and not necessarily the most natural event horse, they have developed quite a consistent record.

They’ve had a fairly light spring season, with just one completion in an Intermediate run at Lincolnshire, and in 2022 they completed just two CCI4*S (Bramham and Chatsworth) in addition to a handful of Novice and Intermediate runs. Although the pair lacks miles at this level, they have a tremendous partnership, which they will rely on as they aim to succeed at getting their first 5* completion.


Susie Berry and Ringwood LB. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

35. Susie Berry and Ringwood LB (IRL)

Fourteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Iroko – Seoidin Alainn, by Master Imp xx). Owned by Susannah Berry, Helen Caton, and Gwen Purce. Bred by Caitriona Mulkere. Groomed by Crisy Salmon.

Last year Susie Berry made her debut at Badminton with John the Bull. This year she returns for a second go-round with her long-time partner, Ringwood LB. Susie got the ride on Ringwood LB – or “Albie” – in the summer of 2018, taking over the ride from fellow Irish rider, Jonty Evans.

Albie’s most recent (and first-ever) run at a CCI5* was at Burghley in 2022. Sadly, the pair was eliminated after a fall at the wide oxers at fence 19. Badminton is on track to be the pair’s first FEI run of the year, as the horse has only competed at the Poplar Park Horse Trials so far in 2023, where they put in a fantastic ride and earned a double clear. Susie’s absence at Thoresby could be due to sustaining a hand injury in mid-March. Hopefully she’ll be right as rain for a 2023 FEI debut at Badminton in the beginning of May.

Albie is always a big contender in the dressage phase, with his last four FEI events showing nearly identical (and low!) dressage scores of 29. Susie and Albie are typically very near the time on cross country, but swing to both sides of the pendulum when it comes to cross country jumping penalties. In 2022, the pair either went clear or were sadly eliminated. When it comes to showjumping, Susie and Albie tend to get four faults in the phase and come in very close to or right on the time.

The pair find themselves at a slight disadvantage when it comes to Badminton, as they weren’t able to have a run at Thoresby Park. We’re expecting a strong start to the weekend with a solid dressage score, hit-or-miss cross country run, and a penalty or two in the show jumping phase. It’ll be interesting to compare how Susie and Albie handle the intimidating course at Badminton in comparison to her ride last year with John the Bull.


Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding. Photo by Julie Wilson Photography.

36. Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding (NZL)

Seventeen-year-old Australian Thoroughbred gelding (Fusaichi Pegasus xx – Gypsy Princess xx, by Sadler’s Wells xx). Owned by The Pottinger Family. Bred by Chelsaus & Orpendale. Groomed by Amy Bliss Bennett.

The diminutive Ferg – 15.2hh on his tippy toes – flew around their first Badminton last year, although four down on the final day dropped the placings. Previous CCI5* form includes a fourth at Adelaide back in 2018, and second just a year later – maybe they could have topped the podium in 2020, had the dreaded C word not hit.

All in all, not bad for a former racehorse: “Muzi” – herself the daughter of Olympic Bronze medalist Tinks Pottinger – bought him off the track as a five-year-old, and he has picked up more than one notable result in his second career, including thirteenth in the notoriously tough CCI4*-S at Bicton in 2021. They are capable of a very good first phase score – they posted a 25.9 here last year – and that should put them in very good stead heading into the cross country, and, as proven last year, they are more than capable of a confident, steady spin around there, too. Their weakest spot, historically, is the showjumping, where they’re prone to a few rails – four apiece, as it happens, at Badminton and the World Championships last year. But the mileage that this special little Thoroughbred is giving Muzi at the topmost levels is invaluable, so we’ll forgive the odd final phase indiscretion in favor of cheering him on in the first two phases, where he’s reliably excellent.


Richard Jones and Alfies Clover. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

37. Richard Jones and Alfies Clover (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Tajraasi xx – Aoifes Clover, by Clover Hill). Owned by Sandra Martin, Dinah Jones, and the rider. Bred by James Hickey.

Everyone loves a comeback kid, and good-humoured Jones has, perhaps, one of the more unusual comeback stories in the field. In 2017, he and Alfies Clover were on track to achieve the best result of Jones’ career in the CCI4*-L at Bramham, where they posted a 35 and one of the top cross-country rounds of the weekend to sit in 11th place going into the final phase. After their round, however, disaster struck – Jones slipped while stepping out of the living area of his lorry and caught his wedding ring on the way down. He ended up losing his finger.

But he’s not stopped easily – this is a man who, the year prior, had to have a foot completely rebuilt – and we saw the pair at Burghley a mere three months later. They finished in 22nd place, despite the constant pain and lack of grip in Jones’ left hand. That was the 11-year-old gelding’s first 5*, and Jones’ first since 2014. The following year they returned, added just 2.8 time penalties to their 34.2 dressage, and finished seventh. It’s all been a bit of a rollercoaster since then: they retired on course at Badminton in 2019 and then finished fourth at Bramham CCI4*-L, which is a big, tough, hilly track, and then had a 20 at Burgham and finished the year with a Burghley retirement. Then they sat out the entirety of the 2020 season. With just Burgham’s CCI4*-S under their belt to get them back into the swing of things last year, though, they jumped clear around the CCI5* at Bicton in 2021, adding 8.8 time penalties across the country and 6.2 total penalties in showjumping to their first-phase score of 33, giving them a very good sixth place finish. And in 2022? They capitalised on that, big time: in just three FEI runs across the year, they managed tenth at Badminton and seventh at Burghley, punctuated by a planned slow clear in the CCI4*-S at Burgham.

When it’s good with this pair, it’s very good, and when it doesn’t quite come together, Richard puts his hand up and calls it a day – but we haven’t seen that in a long time, and now, they’re a real “banker” pair. They’re here to work on another top ten finish, and a top five wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility, either, though the first-phase scores across the spectrum of the 30s will stop them being out and out winners.


Hollie Swain and Solo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

38. Hollie Swain and Solo (NZL)
Fourteen-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Solos Landtinus – Manie Af Sulsted, by Praestegardens Hamlet). Owned by Jan and John Bodenham. Bred by Knud Lynge Jensen. Groomed by Jade Head.

Another Badminton first-timer, this combination still has credible 5* form – they finished 18th on their first run at the level in Luhmühlen last year and completed their first Burghley too, despite an early run out. Hollie – who originally came to England back in 2012 to ride for Jock Paget before setting up on her own in 2015 – describes 17.2hh Freddie as “a gentle giant who would never hurt anyone.” Instead, his desire to do the best job he can for Hollie sometimes sees him become so anxious he boils over, hence dressage is not his strong suit. As such, Hollie says she would be thrilled to post a mid-30’s dressage score, before having some fun out on the cross country.

These two have certainly formed a phenomenal partnership since Hollie took over the ride on the nearly 18hh gelding in 2017, and they should have a safe and enjoyable first trip around the cross country — the kind of round we all love to watch!


Kylie Roddy and Carden Earl Grey. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

39. Kylie Roddy and Carden Earl Grey (GBR)
Seventeen-year-old Anglo European Sporthorse gelding (Last News xx – Palencia, by Corland). Bred by Didy Morgan. Owned by Earl Grey Tea Party-Goers.

One of Kylie’s first jobs as a teenager was making tea and coffee for clients in her mom’s hair salon, but it was manes and tails rather than bobs and mullets that Kylie dreamed of. She began working with horses when she left school aged 16, shortly afterwards making the move to work with Olympic gold medalist, Britain’s Leslie Law. Whilst working for Leslie she produced her first horse to 3*, which she made the difficult decision to sell in order to continue with her eventing dream. Kyrenejenellas Boy went on to compete at Badminton and the Athens Olympics with Czech Republic rider Jaroslav Hatla.

This will be Kylie’s second trip to Badminton – she didn’t complete on her first attempt last year with SRS Kan Do, although they did reroute to Luhmuhlen where they were 6th. She’s looking for her first Badminton completion with Carden Earl Grey at his second 5*. Last year, the pair completed at Pau, where they put down a very respectable 30.9 in the dressage, but added 20 jumping and 38.8 time on cross country day to finish 28th. In 18 FEI starts together, they’ve completed 15 times, only adding cross country jumping penalties on that one occasion. Their dressage scores tend to hover around the 30 mark, but they’ve been as low as 26.9 in the 4*-L at Strzegom in 2019, where they finished 8th. They’re not the speediest round the cross country and can sometimes add time in the show jumping too. They’re more often than not clear jumping on the final day though – the odd 4 slips into their record but they’d be really unlucky to have more than that.

Carden Earl Grey – whose owners’ team name is just the best – was originally produced by JP Sheffield before being competed up to CIC3* by Nick Gauntlett; Kylie took on the ride in 2018 and says the gelding is the love of her life and “the best unicorn ever”. As well as top-level eventing, Kylie is also a qualified Fellow of the British Horse Society. She owns AquAEquestrian, an equine water therapy and rehabilitation center, as well as running a livery yard and teaching. When she’s not busy with horses, she making them – saddle horses, that is, which she creates from upcycled furniture. She also breeds Jack Russells and enjoys boxing.


Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

40. Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Ramiro B – unknown). Owned by Sarah Winfrey and Geoff Mason. Groomed by Amy Pakenham and Cecily Hopkins.

While this may be their first crack at Badminton, this is not the first CCI5* run for these two. They contested Pau last October, finishing up in fourteenth place – a pretty decent result at their first run at the level. In fact, 2022 was definitely a year to remember for Australian-born Greta and the Ramiro B gelding. Their season started with a win in the Advanced at Cirencester Park, and went on to include several more top-ten finishes, not least of which a second in the Under-25 CCI4*-L at Bramham in June, which also saw them crowned National U25 champions.

Murphy was originally bought as a five-year-old for Greta’s twin brother, but she took over the ride back in 2016, and describes him as part of the family. He has been known to be quite sharp – hence his dressage not always being his strong point. Still, Greta has worked hard on the first phase and it shows; while he may not trouble the first phase leaders, he still rarely scores anywhere above the low 30 mark, which should leave them in a good position going into the cross country – arguably their strongest phase. They may have a pole or two on the final day, but going on previous form, this pair are more than ready for their first attempt at the big B!


Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

41. Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier

Ten-year-old Irish Sporthorse mare (Cavalier Royale – Greenacres Touch, by Touchdown). Owned by Chris Mann. Bred by Michael Callery. Groomed by Tristan Hudson.

“Cav” may not have been the easiest young horse – she was eliminated from the jumping phase as a five-year-old in the Burghley Young Event Horse classes – but she is more than making up for that now. Caroline has high hopes for the mare – still a relative youngster at just 10 years old – and she has been tipped on more than one occasion as a Paris 2024 contender.

She was second in her first CCI3*-S at Burgham in 2020 and third in her first CCI4*-L at Ballindensik last year, before finishing fifth in her first CCI-L5* at Pau in the autumn, so who knows what result she could be capable of pulling off at her first Badminton? Her jumping record is increasingly consistent, and she didn’t have a single jumping fault last year. In fact, her incredible show jumping form has seen her leapfrog up the leaderboard on more than one occasion; she went from ninth to fifth after show jumping in the eight- and nine-year-old CCI3*-S at Blenheim last year, with a speedy clear cross country moving them up another two places to an eventual third place. Their dressage has also been steadily improving – they posted a 27.7 on their 5* debut, leaving them in eighth place after dressage amongst horses of far more experience – and again, the mare’s incredible jumping ability silenced any doubts Caroline may have had about taking her to a 5* as a nine-year-old.

“Queen Bee” Cav loves a crowd, so Badminton will provide her ample opportunity to strut her stuff, and perhaps we could even see her post a first phase PB as a result, leaving her in a seriously competitive place heading into the jumping phases. A top ten finish for this top quality young horse on her Badminton debut is not out of the question, and if any one can keep her cool long enough to pull off such a result, it is Caroline, whose own experience of top level competition makes up any that Cav may lack: she has 14 Badminton completions under her belt, is a double Olympian – she was part of the bronze medal winning New Zealand team in London 2012 – and of course, she won Burghley on the late, great Lenamore in 2010. A Badminton win is just about the only thing missing from her list of achievements, so perhaps this special mare will be the one to help her pull it off.


Katherine Coleman and Monbeg Senna. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

42. Katherine Coleman and Monbeg Senna (USA)

Thirteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Zapatero VDL – Brooklyn Breeze, by Fortunus). Owned by Kalai LLC. Bred by Ennisnag Stud.

It’ll be a first CCI5* for Monbeg Senna, and a long-awaited return for British-based Katherine, who last rode here in 2017. She has a great partner for her return in the thirteen-year-old gelding, who she’s produced throughout his international career. She stepped him up to four-star just before the onset of the pandemic, taking 22nd place on his debut at Ballindenisk in Ireland with a steady run in September of 2019 and spending a productive winter in Ocala before the sport shut down in 2020. He wouldn’t run in an FEI event again until 2021, when he returned as part of the US Nations Cup team at Houghton Hall, finishing 46th individually.

He wrapped his year with a clear at Blenheim’s CCI4*-L — his debut at that level — and then jumped clear around Bramham CCI4*-S, finished fifth at Strzegom’s CCI4*-L, and had an educational, rather than competitive, run at Boekelo CCI4*-L at the tail end of the season. This year, they’ve had a steady prep run in the CCI4*-S at Burnham Market, and though it’s unlikely that Katherine is planning to try to catch the clock at Badminton, they should deliver a respectable clear – and will be ones to watch on Sunday, as Senna’s showjumping has been on the up and up, and they haven’t had a rail in an international in nearly a year.


Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge dance their way to a day one top five despite some disappointing moments. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

43. Gireg le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge (FRA)

Thirteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Quppydam des Horts x Image de la Loge, by Dollar du Murier). Owned by Augustin and Frederique Grand. Bred by Elavage de la Loge. Groomed by Véronique Boutet.

Last year’s Badminton heralded a long-awaited five-star debut for the excellent Aisprit, and a kind-of debut for Gireg, who stepped up to five-star at Pau in 2013 but had a fall on course. They ultimately put those demons to bed, finishing a very respectable 18th after delivering a 26.7 on the flat, jumping a speedy clear with 7.2 time penalties, and then having a frustrating and uncharacteristic three rails on Sunday. After that, they tackled their home 5* at Pau, although that didn’t go quite to plan, and they opted to retire on course.

Now he’s back with his horse of a lifetime, with whom he was propelled into the spotlight in 2019 when he won the Jardy leg of the Event Rider Masters series. That was only the horse’s second four-star, and he bested an influential Pierre Michelet track to get it done – and afterwards, Gireg credited the horse’s extraordinary honesty with securing the win.

That’s one of those qualities that money can’t buy and breeding can’t guarantee: either the horse is genuine and will dig deep to find his way to the other side of the fence, even if things go a bit pear-shaped, or he won’t. Aisprit is quantifiably the former type of horse, and proved last year on that tough, vintage Badminton track that he has all the grit a horse could possibly need. This year’s more European feel will be an interesting challenge to see him face, and though we haven’t seen him in an FEI event since Pau, his 21 clears out of 25 FEI cross-country runs should fill both with confidence.

Gireg, who is based at Le Lion d’Angers, the site of the FEI Young Horse World Championships for eventing, will be the first to admit that Aisprit’s first phase performances can lack some ‘serenity’, and while he consistently scores in the 28-32 range, we’d love to see a repeat of last year’s beautiful test. Gireg has also played around with the gelding’s bitting set-up; he used to ride him in a hackamore, but after the horse had nearly a year out due to injury in 2020, he discovered that the arrangement wasn’t working quite as well anymore, and now rides him in a simple snaffle across the country. Keep an eye on them as they make their sophomore Badminton start, because they could do big things — especially if they keep their rails to the usual one-or-none.


Alex Whewall and Ellfield Voyager. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

44. Alexander Whewall and Ellfield Voyager (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old British Sporthorse mare (Birkhof’s Grafenstolz – Ellfield April Joy, by Grannex). Owned and bred by Dr. Sheila Rowe. Groomed by Rose Grant.

Rookie alert! Badminton marks Ellfield Voyager’s first CCI5* event, and “Jilly” has been putting in extra hours on the water treadmill as the pair prepares to move up. Alex last competed in a CCI5* at Badminton in 2018 with Chakiris Star, where the pair was unfortunately eliminated. This will be his first return to the 5* level (and to Badminton) since then.

Jilly is known to be a scopey jumper, but also has a history of being a bit hard to handle in the dressage round and typically lands in the mid-30s to mid-40s. Out of an FEI career that spans nearly a decade, this horse has only three obstacle faults on her record. The success of Alex’s return to the 5* level will depend on the mare’s dressage performance.

So far, Jilly’s return to the FEI level in 2023 has been slow and cautious. The pair received 25.6 time penalties in the cross country phase, but came home with zero jumping penalties at the Eventing Spring Carnival at Thoresby Park International. Their final score of 70.7 earned them seventeenth place. However, last year’s records show that if Alex decides to put the pedal to the medal, the pair can greatly reduce their time faults and still come home clean with zero jumping penalties – at least at the 4* level.


Aaron Millar and KEC Deakon. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

45. Aaron Millar and KEC Deakon (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Chacoa – KEC HotFoot, by Glidawn Diamond). Owned by Heidi Bates. Bred by Anna Kennedy.

Malmesbury-based rider Aaron Millar is making his first trip back to Badminton since 2009. It was that event 14 years ago where he made his CCI5* debut with Stormstay. Now partnered with KEC Deakon, this will be the pair’s second 5* attempt together, having finished 33rd at Pau last autumn.

Heidi Bates’ “Deakon,” who is 13 this year, got his start with Emma Silman before being piloted through the Advanced level by Millie Dumas. Aaron got the ride in 2020. At home, Aaron also rides Tomatillo who is a clone of the 2004 Badminton winner Tamarillo.

Aaron got into the sport the way most do, through Pony Club, and he won the 2005 Pony Club Championships when he was 16. He followed that through the young rider pipeline, earning the best British score at the Junior Europeans that same year.

With Deakon, we can expect Aaron to sit in the low 30s after the first phase. After a frustrating 20 penalties and a frangible pin at Pau, Aaron will be focused on an accurate clear round, which could cost them some time, though they have been quite quick in their last 4*-L performances, finishing with only a few scant seconds above time. A rail seems likely on Sunday – they had four at Pau – but Aaron will be pleased with a stronger cross country performance as these two tackle one of the biggest events in the world.


Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

46. Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby (USA)

Seventeen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Guy Cavalier – Lady Tanjour, by Rafael). Owned by the rider. Bred by Linda Courtney Cadam.

It’s another trip over the pond for frequent flyers Lillian and her long-time partner LCC Barnaby, who came here last year but suffered a rider fall on course. Prior to that, we last saw them in the UK for that big, tough, influential Burghley in 2019, where they finished 18th after a gutsy clear round with 28.8 time penalties. That might sound rather a lot, but that’s what these true 5* cross-country days do: they make the finer margins of time a little less relevant and focus on tenacity and fortitude. This year, we have a very different Badminton to last year, and one that’ll require serious trust between horse and rider to commit to some technical lines – so a partnership like this, in which horse and rider know one another better than they know themselves, already has a great advantage.

This’ll be an incredible 12th CCI5* start for this stalwart pair, whose best result at the level so far is eleventh place at Maryland last year. They’ve got five top-twenty finishes at the level under their belt so far, and the low-30s they’ve scored in the first phase in both their prep runs for this was the culmination of plenty of hard work to bring their performances between the boards to a consistent and competitive place.

Great things often come from humble backgrounds, and Lillian first teamed up with the impressive gelding when he was a very green six- year-old and she was basing herself in Ireland to gain more experience. Lillian’s own horse had been sidelined, so she needed to find a replacement – and so, with trainer Boyd Martin’s advice to just choose one that jumps well in her mind, she picked the rank, rogue gelding that no one enjoyed riding, because he never, ever said no to a fence. They began their career together in Britain, and since then, they’ve become familiar faces at the top events all over the world.


Arthur Marx and Church’Ile. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

47. Arthur Marx and Church’ile (FRA)

Eleven-year-old Selle Français gelding (Grafenstolz – Ile d’Ohe, by Apache d’Adriers). Owned by Philippe Marx. Bred by Phillippe Marx.

It’ll be a second five-star for both Church’ile and 29-year-old Arthur, who celebrates his big 3-0 next week and will no doubt relish the opportunity for even bigger celebrations. They completed their debut at Pau last year in 23rd place despite an educational 20 penalties across the country, and now, as they come to their first Badminton, they do so armed with the knowledge of that extra bit of oomph that this level requires. That 20 was actually their first whoopsy in an international since 2019, so it’s fair to assume that they’ve spent the winter doing their homework ahead of this trip — and having done so will make them a truly formidable combo for the compact but competitive French side here. They won’t lead the first phase, with their typical mid-to-high 30s dressage, but they’re achingly good at staying on that come cross-country day: in 19 FEI runs, they’ve made the time twelve times. Allez, allez! Showjumping can be a bit of a bugbear for them, though, and their two rails down at Pau was a good day in the office for them — we’ve seen them take as many as six before, although they’re usually averaging more like three. Still, many of their toughest showjumping results have come on surfaces, and on the continent, a surface is a chance to build an even trickier, bigger showjumping course — so Badminton’s grass arena and slightly more straightforward final phase could suit them well.

Church’ile is actually a Marx family homebred: Philippe, Arthur’s father, rode both his dam and grand-dam. He’s also one of a number of Grafenstolz offspring in this field, which makes him a half brother to the likes of Ros Canter’s Lordships Graffalo, among others. Not a shabby family reunion, this.


Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

48. Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Diamant de Semilly – Ariane du Prieure II, by Papillon Rouge). Owned by Jane Inns and Alison and Tom McEwen. Bred by Kerstin Drevet. Groomed by Adam Short.

The progeny of Diamant de Semilly are not known for being amateur friendly, but they are absolutely freakish jumpers, and Toledo is no different. There are few horses at this level that are an equal and consistent threat in all three phases, but Toledo brings the fire on a regular basis. He stormed into the spotlight back in 2016, when he partnered Tom to a win in Bramham’s hotly-contested Under-25 CCI4-L.

He has eight CCI5* starts under his belt, as well as two World Championships, and a cool individual silver medal at the Olympics in Tokyo. His first 5* was Pau in 2016, quickly followed by an eleventh place at Badminton and a fourth at Burghley in 2017. In 2018, they snagged a seventh placed ribbon at Badminton, and then hopped across the pond to the WEG in Tryon to help the British team to a gold medal, and finished twelfth individually. In 2019 they were 11th at Badminton again, and finally scored their first 5* win that fall at Pau. They’ve continued to be a force since then, but we’re running out of room to mention all of the top placings this pair has accrued.

Toledo is consistent and flashy in the ring, scoring in the mid-20s reliably, and he’s only faulted five times across the country in his 31 internationals. He got a little cocky last spring at this event, resulting in a rare error of judgment on Saturday, but that’s unlikely to happen again. On Sunday, you’ll really see the French gelding shine – he’s probably the best showjumper in this entry list, and has only ever knocked two rails in his international career – despite being a slightly quirky chap who doesn’t jump at home at all. Tom and his team have created a system around the horse that suits him perfectly, and they know one another as well as they know themselves at this stage. Don’t bet against them.


Kitty King and Vendredi Biats. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

49. Kitty King and Vendredi Biats (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Winningmood – Liane Normande, by Camelia de Ruelles). Owned by the late Sally Eyre, Diana Bown, Samantha Wilson, and Sally Lloyd-Baker. Bred by Philippe Brivois. Groomed by Chloe Fry.

A strong partnership, Kitty King first saw Vendredi Biats as a five-year-old at Lucy and Padraig McCarthy’s stable. Although she wasn’t incredibly impressed when she first saw him in the stable, and he was known to be a bit cold-backed, once he started working under saddle, the syndicate owners Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson, and Sally Lloyd-Baker purchased the horse.

Kitty and “Froggy’s” FEI partnership started back in 2015 with a fourth-place finish at the CIC1* at Somerford Park. While their first CCI5* competition at Badminton in 2019 was cut short with a rider fall on cross country, the pair has since won the 4*-L at Bramham in 2019, the 4*-S at Alnwick-Burgham in 2019, and have finished within the top ten at ten other 4* and 5* events.

The partnership most recently delivered an impressive dressage score of 21.2 at Burghley in 2022. Despite a frangible pin and a bit of time on cross country, they ended with sixth place in the 5*. Their impressive dressage score at Burghley isn’t uncommon, as the duo often delivers a mid-20s dressage score. While this has delivered consistent top ten results, they do typically pick up a handful of time, and possibly an occasional rail, which has kept them off the top of the board previously. Heading into Badminton 2023, they will be one to watch as they work to maintain their score throughout all three phases.


Alex Bragg and Quindiva. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

50. Alexander Bragg and Quindiva (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quintender – Ruby Roller, by High Roller). Owned by Alexander Bragg and The Roe Family. Bred by Cliodhna Carroll. Groomed by Sarah Whatley.

While Badminton will welcome Quindiva to her first CCI5* (albeit Alexander’s ninth), the little bay mare has been running 4* since 2019. Her most recent big wins were last summer at Barbury Castle’s and Wellington International’s CCI3*-S, both of which saw completely clear rounds ending on dressage scores of 28.7 and 30, respectively. The pair then claimed a tenth-place finish at Blenheim’s 4*-L in September, finishing just one showjumping time fault over their dressage score. The aptly-named “Diva” mare is Irish-bred by Cliodhna Carroll of Kingsborough Sport Horses, and is known to be very selective as to which people she accepts into her circle. Her dam has also produced a few other familiar names, including Tim Bourke’s 4*-S mount Quality Time and Lucinda Atkinson’s 3*-L gelding KGB Sandro.

Alexander has an impressive top-five placement record at the 5* level, taking a fourth-place finish at Pau in both 2019 and 2020, as well as a third at Luhmuhlen in 2019, with former 5* mount Zagreb. Alex also ventured back to his roots in the world of pure showjumping last year, taking some good placings with two of his other top eventing mounts – Hegglelane Houston and Shannondale Aristo – at the Keysoe International CSI1* and 2* last fall. The Chilton Trinity-based rider was present at Badminton in 2022 with 5* gelding King of the Mill, but was unfortunately eliminated on cross country due to a fall.

In addition to conquering the British eventing scene, Alexander acts as his own farrier for all the Team Bragg horses, having started his own shoeing business after training to become a registered farrier at 16 years old. Upon being introduced to eventing through his wife Simmone, he transitioned his focus to becoming a top British event rider. After his 4* debut in 2016, Alex’s impressive record includes several competitions on British Nations Cup teams, including acting as the reserve for the European Championships in 2017, and was long-listed for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. Alex currently holds a sixth-place spot in British Eventing’s Highest Show Jumping Clears ranking for the year, and is tied for eighth for Most Cross Country Jumping Clears – not surprising given his extensive line-up of top-notch horses.

Quindiva hasn’t dropped a single pole since 2019 – the year of her 4* debut – and has only seen four show Jumping rounds over the allowed time at any international competition. The pair did have an uncharacteristic 21.6 penalties of cross-country time last month at Thoresby Park’s 4*-S, but typically gives consistent double-clear rounds – we have seen only one outlying cross-country run-out per year since 2019, so hopefully she’s just got it out of her system for 2023! If this quick little mare can continue her sub-30 dressage score trend, she could easily be a heavy contender.


Bill Levett and Huberthus AC. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

51. Bill Levett and Huberthus AC (AUS)

Eleven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Douglas – S.Anubertha 16, by Voltaire). Owned by Elisabeth Murdoch, William Levett, and Keith Tyson. Bred by A. Cornelese. Groomed by Lucy Whitehead and Debbie Carpenter.

Eventing fans will be familiar with the name Bill Levett, who, at 60, is one of the most experienced riders in the field. Based in Britain since 1994, Australian Bill brings forward Huberthus AC, or “Bart” as he’s known in the stable, for the horse’s first CCI5*. Bill’s no stranger to Badminton, having first competed there in 2000, so will know just what it takes to guide a 5* first-timer round a demanding course.

Bart was produced by Chris Hall and Emily Oppenheimer, joining Bill’s team in 2019. He stepped up to the Advanced level in 2021, finishing 27th in the Bicton 4*-L and 21st in the 4*-L at Blenheim, where he added just 4 show jumping penalties to his dressage of 32.8. Bart didn’t compete in 2022, coming back in 2023 with a run in the 3*-S in Montelibretti, where he finished sixth. He returned to Italy the following month for the 4*-S, again finishing sixth and adding just 4.8 cross country time to his 30.7 dressage. The first phase has seen his most inconsistent scores, from very low 30s to very low 40s, but his most recent form suggests we’re likely to see a mid-30 test at Bart’s first 5*, although he is capable of a bit better than that, so we’ll see how he enjoys the atmosphere at a big event.

His cross country record is where he shines, jumping clear in all but one of his twelve FEI runs. He does tend to add time, and with Bart being inexperienced at the level it’s unlikely Bill will have his pedal to the metal, but he has shown he can make the time at 4*-L, and the most he’s added due to the clock this year is 15.3 in his first run of the season. On the final day, he has had a pole more often than not, but in his last two runs he’s left them up, completing with only cross country time added to his dressage scores.

Bill represented Australia at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships and was named traveling reserve for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. He was an Event Rider Masters regular, taking fifth, fourth, and third placings in the 2018 series. When he’s not training or riding, Bill works as part of the Monart Sales team, helping to select top-quality young horses for the luxury off-season auction.


Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

53. Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old Irish-bred mare (Baltimore – Shalom Internet, by Cavalier). Owned by Kristina Hall-Jackson and KHJ Eventing. Bred by Ray O’Rieilly. Groomed by Danielle Smithson and Tessa Downs.

Badminton rookie Kristina Hall-Jackson may be at the younger end of the field in terms of age, but having been riding since she was eighteen months old, she certainly isn’t lacking in experience. Called up for Team GB when she was just seventeen, and part of the BEF Excel talent program for horses and riders with Olympic potential between 2015 and 2017, she has trained with Chris Bartle and is part of the Wesko Equestrian Foundation program, mentored by Pippa Funnell. Kristina and long-time partner CMS Google are certainly ones to watch at what will be the pair’s second CCI5* together. Kristina will be joined at the event by her sister, Danielle Smithson, for moral support as well as practical. Danielle will be looking after Google and, having been a GB swimmer on the world class program, she understands what it’s like to compete at the highest level.

Historically, Google has found the dressage to be a bit tricky. She’s squeaked sub-30 a couple of times, but is more likely to hover around the mid-30s mark; at Burghley last year, their first 5*, she posted a 33, completing in 25th place. They were sixth in the 4*-L at Bramham in 2022 – a career-best for both – adding just 2.8 cross country and 0.8 show jumping time to their 35.9 dressage score. Kristina says herself, CMS Google is a “jumping machine”, although she has her own style when it comes to galloping across the country – “she’s a bit of a truffle-snuffler”. But, having been together since 2017, Kristina is used to her style and, based on the fact that they’ve completed at all but one of their 24 FEI starts, it certainly seems to work for them.

Despite being sharp and spooky when hacking at home, “the biggest chicken, scared of her own shadow”, come competition day, CMS Google knows her job: “she’s as brave as a lion”, and will likely eat up the cross country fences. They can have the odd 20, but more often than not they don’t, and it’s a similar story in the show jumping – realistically we can expect them to jump clear, although an unlucky pole isn’t unheard of for the mare. Time is where they tend to add penalties, but they have proved themselves against the clock on occasion, finishing on their dressage in the 3*-S at Alnwick in 2022 and the 4*-L at Burnham Market in 2020.

Kristina fell in love with Google the moment she sat on her. She describes the mare as “the kindest horse” who everyone loves at home, which she uses to her advantage when she’s fluttering her eyelashes to procure a polo or two. Going from “donkey at home” to “sassy madam” at shows, Google clearly knows she’s special. Kristina is understandably very excited about her partnership with CMS Google – they’re undeniably a promising prospective pair – and we’re excited to, hopefully, see all that potential realized in a successful trip round Badminton.


Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

54. Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old British-bred Sporthorse Mare (Caretino Glory – Little Runnymede xx, by Ginger Boy xx). Owned by Robin and Patricia Balfour and Sophie Crisp. Bred by Patricia and Robin Balfour. Groomed by Amy Akehurst.

Liberty and Glory, or Lori, is our dark horse pick of the week: she is, after all, quite literally a dark horse. But she’s also one of those classic, feisty little mares, fueled by rage and opinions, and frankly, her first-phase performances don’t even MATTER when she produces the goods on Saturday. We saw her at her very best at Pau in 2018, where she climbed an absolutely ridiculous 54 places to finish sixth, delivering an emotional CCI5* best for Tom, and again at Burghley last year when, after a few on-off years due to the pandemic and niggling injury, she returned with a bang to take ninth.

Lori is truly a family horse, ridden by a family man: she’s out of a full Thoroughbred mare who Tom’s wife Sophie competed through Advanced, and Sophie’s parents Robin and Patricia not only bred the mare, but continue to part-own her. The Crisp family at large – including sons Hugo and Harry, and youngest child Hermione – can be seen out in force at events, with everyone chipping in. Harry, who’s just hit his teens, is already jumping well around Novice (US Prelim) tracks, so we’d be unsurprised to see him trying to cadge the ride on dad’s mega mare before long.

Born on the fourth of July and given a patriotic moniker to match, Lori probably won’t dazzle in the dressage – she’s a high-30s scorer, although Tom has been working hard on her flatwork and her tempestuous nature. It’s Saturday that’ll really have you paying attention – despite the fact that she spent her early years enacting elaborate protests that included lying down in start boxes, 16hh Lori is yet to face any course she considers difficult. Her penalties at her 5* debut at Luhmühlen way back in 2018 came as a result of enthusiasm and a subsequent genuine inability to get herself to the next element. Now, watching her come back and have a jolly time around this big track will be as fun for fans as it is for her.


Arthur Duffort and Toronto d’Aurois. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

56. Arthur Duffort and Toronto d’Aurois (FRA)

Sixteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Polack II – Jovaly D’Aurois, by Daloubet D’Evordes). Owned by Arthur Duffort, Julie Gatien, and Paul Gatien. Bred by Robert Maury. Groomed by Leonore (Leo) Gignoux.

British-based French rider Arthur Duffort is coming back to Badminton for another go after making his debut there with his 2023 Badminton ride Toronto D’Aurois. As well as completing Badminton in 2022, Arthur and Toronto D’Aurois finished in 15th at Burghley, where the gelding made his CCI5* debut in 2019, finishing in 29th place. The combination have also completed the 5* at Pau; in 2019 they finished in 24th, although their return trip the following year wasn’t so successful – they were eliminated on the cross country that time around.

Toronto D’Aurois was produced in France up to CCI2* by part-owner and Arthur’s friend, Paul Gatien. The original plan was for the horse to be produced and then sold on; however, Toronto D’Aurois had other plans. He was so difficult that they couldn’t find a buyer for him and so he ended up staying and Arthur took on the ride in 2016. He stepped up to the CCI4* level in 2019, finishing seventh at Tattersalls in the 4*-S where they added 8 show jumping and 2 time penalties to their dressage of 35.6. Generally around the mid to high-30s in the first phase, their 5* tests trend towards the top of the scale, the best at the level being a 37.9 at Pau in 2021. In their last 14 FEI runs going back to 2018 – barring the elimination at Pau and a 20 at Burghley in 2019 – they’ve jumped clear cross country, generally adding a handful of time penalties, but not always. We can expect a pole to be rolled on the final day, maybe two, and one or two time faults, but they have jumped clear in the 4*-S format so Toronto D’Aurois can keep the poles up on his day.

Arthur spent four years riding for Andrew Nicholson before setting up his business, Otis Eventing, with his wife, Logan, where he produces horses. Alongside this, he’s a director of bespoke horse sales business Tandem Sport Horses, which is based in France.
Toronto’s groom, Leonore Gignoux, describes him as “truly a gentle giant” who’s always paying attention to his humans despite not enjoying much fuss from them. He’s very shy and is easily spooked – Leonore says she would turn off the giant screen in the dressage arena for his test if she could! Toronto loves to be in the field more than anything and during his holidays becomes a wild horse that no one can approach. Leonore has a trick though – she brings him treats every day to persuade him into having his rug changed. Sounds like Toronto’s one smart cookie!


Selina Milnes and Iron. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

58. Selina Milnes and Iron (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Aquilino – Ushuaia – Donnerschlag). Owned by Angela and William Rucker. Groomed by Sarah Towler.

The experienced partnership of Selina Milnes and Iron are aiming for their second Badminton completion this week. They were 24th out of 52 finishers.

Iron brought Selina back up to the 5* level after a 10-year hiatus back at Pau in 2021 where they finished eighth, adding just 4.4 time penalties across the country and 0.8 in showjumping to their first-phase score of 30.1. The following season at big, bad, Badminton saw them pick up 15.6 cross country time penalties to their otherwise clear round in addition to 1.6 show jumping time penalties. Both of these were tacked onto their dressage result of 31.7. This secured their spot on the long list for the 2022 World Championships.

Selina and “Bently” have consistently delivered results, especially in the jumping phases. They won the Ballindenisk 4* Nations Cup last autumn over in Ireland with one of their best dressage results to date, a 26.5, and just 2 cross country time penalties. Their 5* dressage marks have hovered between 30 and 31, but even if they don’t squeak into the twenties, if they can put the pedal down on Saturday – and they’ll almost certainly jump clear on Sunday – they’ll have a very good shot at top 15.

Back at home, Selina is married to an equine veterinarian, Scott, and her brother, Greg, is a farrier for Team GB.


Lauren Innes and Global Fision M. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

60. Lauren Innes and Global Fision M (NZL)

Twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Flipper d’Elle – Kantussa, by Cantus). Owned by the rider. Bred by Veehandel Musterd Made B.V. Groomed by Charlie Farrow.

Seeing Lauren Innes on the Kiwi entrant list for the first time at Badminton last year might have been a bit of an unexpected item in bagging area – the British-based rider only swapped nationalities a number of weeks prior, making use of her claim to Kiwi-hood through her father. It was a savvy move, particularly as the British side is so overpopulated with top-level talent at the moment, and a swap to the relatively compact Kiwi side allows her access to more support and a chance to fight for team selection. But this savviness won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows Lauren, a true amateur rider who works full-time as an accountant and does some seriously impressive balancing to fit in producing “Flipper”: “[Working from home during] COVID has certainly helped, because I can get off him at like, one minute to nine and be at my desk by nine,” she laughs. “I go to Oakingham Stud to use their hill gallops to get him fit for the longs, and that’s about fifty minutes from home, so I’ll get up at quarter past five and leave home just before six. Then after the drive, I’ll be on him just before seven, gallop him, wash him down, and be back by nine. Then he goes out in the field, and I work all day.”

This is Lauren’s only upper-level horse, and they’ve climbed through the levels together ever since she bought him as a five-year-old from Ireland’s Brian Morrison, co-founder of Global Horses. Lauren’s friendship with Brian began when she was studying Biological Sciences at Oxford – and while she hadn’t been a part of Britain’s bustling Young Rider circuit and teams, she was able to pursue her passion for competing through student riding, helmed by the World University Equestrian Federation. The set-up of the federation means that no competitor is required to have their own horse; instead, students go head to head in heats, each riding the same horse to determine who has exhibited the best horsemanship. Success at student riding competitions can lead to opportunities such as the Student Riding Nations Cups, which give riders from universities around the world the chance to compete together. The system has produced an impressive array of riders on the cusp of the big leagues, and Lauren has since ridden for Britain at the CCI3*-S European Cup and enjoyed a fruitful run at 4*, with super results including a third-place finish at Blair and an eleventh place finish in the very tough CCI4*-L at Bicton in 2021. But Flipper certainly isn’t the easiest ride, and according to Lauren’s trainer, Mark Corbett, it’s because he’s not in a professional string that he’s able to thrive.

“He can get really hot, and when he gets hot, he kind of loses it. He’s by Flipper d’Elle and he’s very French, in his brain,” Lauren told EN during Blair Castle’s CCI4*-L in 2021, in which they finished third. “He’s the most confident horse to jump thing; nothing is too big, and he has the utmost belief in his ability. I don’t think he’s ever lost his confidence. But that confidence gets him a bit hot in the dressage sometimes, so he’s had to work a lot on it by going out and doing British Dressage.”

Because of Flipper’s quirks, much will depend on how he takes to the atmosphere at Badminton. Lauren has a finely-honed routine for helping him settle at three-days, which suits him much better than coming out at short-formats, where there’s less time to get used to his new environs, but if he bubbles over, he can hit the mid-30s and beyond. On cross-country, though, all trickiness is cast aside, and he’s straight, focussed, incredibly genuine, and though not the fastest horse in the field, still fairly swift. He’s also at his best when showjumping on the final day, and should go clear. Lauren will be taking this one phase by phase – Flipper’s prep has been interrupted by the tricky spring season in the UK, and he bubbled over badly in the ring at Thoresby, where he had to warm up totally on his own because of the number of withdrawals. His score in the 50s there should be considered an outlier, but he scored in the 40s at Badminton last year, so it’ll definitely be this phase that Lauren will be most pleased to see in the rearview mirror.


William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht. Photo by Hannah Cole Photography.

61. William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht (GBR)

Eleven-year-old Oldenburg mare (Grafenstolz – Nachtigall, by Narew xx). Owned by Amanda Gould. Bred by Hans-Jürgen Bobsien.

Chances are, if you’ve watched eventing, you’re well aware of the legend that is William Fox-Pitt – you may even have seen him walking the course surrounded by a small pack of dogs. With multiple Olympic, World, and European medals to his name, William has been World Number 1 four times, and has won five of the now – after the addition of Maryland CCI5* to the eventing calendar last year – seven 5*s. His name is immortalized on Burghley’s Winners’ Avenue a whopping six times, he’s had a hat trick of Kentucky wins, picked up four Badminton Armada Dishes and won the trophy twice, done the double at Pau, and won Luhmulen. Will he be adding to his accolades at Badminton?

William brings forward Grafennacht, or “Lillie” as she’s known at home, who’s got a mixed bag of scores on her card from her 12 FEI competitions thus far. Back after a break last season as she wasn’t feeling quite right, her most recent outing in the CCI4*-S at a very wet Eventing Spring Carnival at Thoresby Park International (UK) saw her post a 29.9 dressage in really quite boggy conditions. She went on to roll a pole in the jumping, as well as adding 0.4 time. 26 cross country time faults meant they finished in twentieth, but it was a slow day for many out on course.

As far as a prep run for Badminton goes, let’s hope the conditions are more favorable in the Gloucestershire countryside, but either way, Lillie won’t mind too much – William describes her as a “tough old wench”! Earlier this year, the Open Intermediate class at Lincolnshire (UK), saw her deliver a lovely dressage of 26.1, to which 16 show jumping faults and 20.8 cross country time penalties were added. Before that, her last run was in the 4*-L at Boekelo in 2021, where she finished second after posting a 24.9 dressage, adding only 1.2 time in the jumping. She may not have been the quickest cross country thus far, but she’s likely to go clear, and with this being her first 5*, we’ll see how she fares. One thing’s for sure: with William in the saddle, she’s in great hands.


Mike Winter and El Mundo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

62. Mike Winter and El Mundo (CAN)

Fourteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Numero Uno – Calvaro’s Bria Z, by Calvaro Z). Owned by Jonathan Nelson, Emma Winter, and Michael Winter. Bred by H.G K M. Derks. Groomed by Amy Ferris.

Based in the UK and representing Canada, double Olympic and World Championship rider Mike Winter brings El Mundo – “Roberto” in the stable – back to Badminton for another spin ‘round the Eric Winters track. Last year the pair picked up 20 on the cross country, so he’ll be hoping to put that right this go around. They jumped clear cross country at Pau CCI5* last year so Roberto’s definitely capable of coming home clean at the level. That day they added 24 time penalties, but that’s the most they’ve had when jumping clear. Their prep run this year came in the 4*-S at Burnham Market, where they added just 10.8 time to their dressage of 33.3 to finish in 19th. We can probably expect a mid to low 30s dressage, although they have scored as low as 29.6 – at Roberto’s first 5*, which came at Bicton in 2021. They went on to have some green errors cross country and retired on course, but they proved that a sub-30 in the first phase isn’t impossible. They may roll a pole on the final day, and they may add a smidgen of time, but they’re just as likely to be clear. We’ll have to see how Roberto’s feeling after his big day out on the cross country.

Roberto joined Mike’s stables as a six-year-old, originally as a “produce and sell” prospect as part of his business. But when a major injury meant Roberto was put on box rest, Mike put himself in charge of his round-the-clock care, and the bond they formed meant that selling was no longer an option. And what a joy their relationship is to see when they’re out on track boldly navigating the cross country course, something that will stand them in great stead for Badminton.

Mike is an outspoken advocate for diversity and anti-racism in the sport, as well as equality issues such as clean drinking water, education and health care. He uses his platform as a top-level rider to raise awareness of these issues, saying, “If I can do a small bit to make people aware of them, I hope that helps”. When he’s not training horses, going eventing, or being an advocate extraordinaire, Mike likes snowboarding and tractors.


Emily King and Valmy Biats. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

63. Emily King and Valmy Biats (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Orlando – Aurelie du Prieure, by Hadj A X). Owned by Emily King, Philippe Brivois, Mrs. Jacquie Shere and Mr. Jeremy Shere, and Event Horse Owners Syndicate. Bred by Philippe Brivois. Groomed by Sarah Morrily.

Fresh off of a win at Thoresby Park in the CCI4*-S, Emily King and Valmy Biats are off to a strong start for the 2023 season, their third FEI year as a partnership. Despite “playing it safe” in the dressage at Thoresby, the pair scored a 26.8, adding 14.4 in cross country time to finish in first on a 41.2.

This is actually quite a new partnership — a pandemic partnership, if you will. Emily was sent the horse to try by owner and breeder Phillippe, who offered to let her keep the ride if she covered the horse’s running costs. Sensing she was sitting on something special, she scrimped and saved to be able to campaign through the early part of their partnership in 2019, and then teamed up with the then-newly formed Event Horse Owners Syndicate, an innovative collective that offers annual “microshares” in horses — a model that’s been highly successful in racing, but hadn’t yet made it to eventing. For less than £100 a year, “owners” can buy in to the Valmy experience, receiving regular updates, yard visits, and quality time with Emily, “their” horse, and other syndicate members out at competitions — and it was this set-up that allowed Emily to continue riding the gelding. The EHOS continued to support Valmy even when Emily was sidelined with an injury, and they got to enjoy seeing him in action at Aston le Walls CCI4*-S in 2021 with Oliver Townend deputising. Oliver was quick to confirm that Emily had found an excellent prospect in Valmy, who’d been produced to CCI3*-L by French Olympian Mathieu Lemoine.

Previously competing at the 5* level at Badminton and Pau in 2022, the duo will be looking for this third run to solidify their success at the level, with a fall and their first 5* at Badminton, but an eighth place finish at Pau, adding some time and a rail to their impressive dressage score of 25.5.

Starting in to the season at Thoresby, Emily comments that “[Valmy Biats] can be a bit of a hothead in his first tests of the year, so just for him to go in and be so calm was the main thing.” Despite dealing with a hot horse, the pair potentially had a slight edge to the rest of the field, competing in the rainy, sloppy conditions at Thoresby – Valmy Biats lives out in the field, so is used to dealing with the slop. Keep an eye on this duo to see how they’ll come off of their success at Thoresby to make another run at Badminton. With their usually impressive dressage scores, and continually developing partnership, they certainly look to be a pair to watch.



64. Georgia Bartlett and Spano de Nazca (GBR)

Seventeen-year-old French Anglo Arab (Daguet du Rochau X – Fedora de Petra X, by Veganum X). Owned by Georgia Bartlett. Bred by Andre Lamare and Sophie Lam. Groomed by Susie Cooper.

Ladies and gentlemen, a CCI5* debutant: 22-year-old Georgia Bartlett and her long time partner, “Nono”. These two have been together for seven years now, and although Nono had previously competed up to 3*, he has taken Georgia all the way up the levels, starting at BE100, and she describes him as her best friend. Who better to contest your first Badminton with?

Together they won the Under-19 championships at Frickley Park in 2017, they were part of the Silver Medal winning team at both 2018 and 2019 Junior European Championships, and in 2021 they were 11th in their first CCI4*-L, at Blenheim, no less.

2022 saw another spate of good results for the pair, culminating in third place at Millstreet CCI4*-L in August, and they have come out in similar form this season, placing fifth in the CCI3*-S at the recent Eventing Spring Carnival at Thoresby Park. The perfect prep run for Badminton? Here’s hoping! Nono has certainly shown himself to be a jumping machine over the years both in the arena and out on the cross country, although their dressage scores tend to vary from the high 20’s to mid 30’s, so they may not be right up there after dressage. But don’t write them off entirely – if they pull off the double clear that they have proven themselves capable of on more than one occasion, who knows where they could end up? Badminton is far from a dressage competition after all, and we could just see a fairytale top ten finish for this young 5* first-timer.


Bubby Upton and Cola chase the clock on the home stretch. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

65. Bubby Upton and Cola (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Catoki – Vanessa XII, by Contender). Owned by Rachel Upton. Bred by Peter Boege. Groomed by Katie Dutton.

At just 24, and scarcely a year out of university, Bubby has been getting in some serious mileage at the top levels – and although she’ll be disappointed to have withdrawn second ride Cannavaro, she’s one to watch with her remaining ride, Cola, in her second Badminton. Last year, we saw them very nearly lay down a perfect weekend here: they had a competitive enough 30.4, were swift across the country, and jumped a classy clear on the final day – but their surprise run-out at the final fence on Saturday was a bitter pill to swallow and a real learning lesson. Fortunately for Bubby, learning is something she does very well, and it’s hard to imagine her ever finding herself in a similar situation again. She wrapped up her 2022 season on flying form, taking 14th place at Burghley with Cola and sixth at Pau with Cannavaro.

The current British under-25 national champion has already proven herself against many of the world’s very best riders, consistently placing in enormous four-star fields with her string of horses. That string continues to blossom and grow, too: she’s supported by Cheddington in the West Country alongside Chris Burton, and after his recent retirement from eventing she took on two of his rides in Blenheim CCI4*-S winner Clever Louis and Jefferson. She’s represented Britain at Pony, Junior, and Young Rider level, winning silver individual medals at Pony and Young Rider European Championships and becoming Junior European Champion in 2017 with Eros DHI.

Her mount, Cola, has been a horse she’s grown up alongside. They’ve been to two Young Rider Europeans together, winning team gold and individual silver in 2019, and have ticked off plenty of milestones on their journey up the levels. They haven’t just focused on Bubby’s age classes, either: they contested the CCI4*-S for eight- and nine-year-olds at Blenheim in 2019, finishing in the top twenty. At their 5* debut in 2021, they finished 12th, just dropping out of the placings after tipping two rails on the final day — but the strength of their performances, particularly across the country, shone through. They finished inside the time and Bubby rode with a maturity well beyond her years, which is something we’ve seen from her time and time again.

This really does feel like the time for young British talent to rise to the top, and Bubby will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Luhmühlen winner Mollie Summerland and World Champ Yasmin Ingham in delivering a serious set of performances for a very good finish.


Helen Martin and Andreas. Photo by Nick Perry.

66. Helen Martin and Andreas (GBR)

Seventeen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Gralser Meister – Rivette, by Jimtown). Owned by Helen Martin and Lorna Soames.Bred by K Hoorn. Groomed by Sarah King.

CCI5* rookie Helen Martin comes forward with her long-time partner Andreas, or “Alfie” as he’s known at home. Having been brought up through the levels from 1* to now 5* by Helen, it’s safe to say that they know each other well. Helen has a sound equestrian background, starting with Pony Club and then going through the BHS system and gaining her coaching certification. Alongside all this, she managed to gain a degree in Geography and work in project management for five years. Helen describes Alfie as “low-mileage” despite his seventeen years, having had a bit of a bumpy road on his journey to 5* due to a series of injuries, which meant he’s had significant time off. But with Helen’s horsemanship and a super supportive owner, Lorna Soames, they’re ready to make the whole team’s dream come true and compete at Badminton.

In their first FEI competition in 2015, they finished on their dressage with 44.8; their score in the first phase has been improving ever since, being as low as 28 in the 3*-L at Hartpury in 2021, where they finished fourteenth after activating a frangible device on cross country and adding 2.8 time. Their 4* tests have generally seen them in the mid-30s for dressage, although they have some form to suggest that the low-30s aren’t out of their reach. They’ve jumped clear cross country in ten of their 16 FEI completions, generally adding some time faults but nothing to suggest that they can’t be quick enough on their day – which they proved in the 4*-L at Kronenberg in 2022, where they finished on their dressage of 36.7 for the win. Their show jumping record suggests they may roll a pole, but they’re just as likely to jump clear. In their most recent outing in the 4*-S at Kronenberg they finished sixth, adding just 3.2 cross country time penalties to their dressage of 35.1.

It’ll be interesting to see what Alfie makes of his first 5*, but he seems to be a dependable campaigner for Helen and we all know how important the relationship between horse and rider is when faced with those epic fences. One thing’s for sure, he’ll be putting his best foot forward having been shod by Helen’s farrier husband, who, along with providing moral support to Helen, is also judging the Best-Shod Horse prize at Badminton this year.


Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

68. Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz (AUS)

Thirteen-year-old New Zealand Hanoverian gelding (Balou du Rouet – Cotton Jenny xx, by Colombia xx). Owned by Sarah Clark, Gill Clark, Colin Clark and Linda Clark. Bred by Little Valley Farm. Groomed by Kirsten Poulsom.

Having made the trip to the UK from Down Under for last year’s Burghley, Sarah Clark’s second big B dream comes true this week with her first trip to Badminton. When she left Auz for her Great British adventure, Sarah boarded the flight with her “Dreamcatcher” LV Balou Jeanz with no return ticket and no funds to buy one. After fulfilling a “life-long dream” and completing at Burghley, posting a 34.3 dressage and adding 32 time penalties to a clear cross country, ending the event in 22nd, Sarah based herself with Great Britain’s David Doel and has crowdfunded her way to the next thing on her bucket list — Badminton.

Typically mid-30s in the dressage, they have scored as low as 31, and they can be expected to climb the leaderboard come cross country day, having added jumping penalties in just three of their 31 FEI competitions (with just two non-completions). They won’t be the quickest on the day, but they have made the time at a CCI4*-L before, and the 32 time faults they added at Burghley are the most they’ve had at 4*-L and 5*. Their weakest phase is undoubtedly the show jumping, they added 12 jumping and 5.2 time last year at Burghley, but in general, they keep it to one pole, sometimes two.

Sarah and “Jeanz”, as he’s known at home, saw much success in Australia before heading to the UK, completing in the top 4 in five of their thirteen 4* and 5* FEI runs, earning Jeanz Eventing South Australia Horse of the Year in 2022. His 5* debut came when he was just a nine-year-old after rocketing through the levels on his way to the top of the sport. Sarah describes Jeanz’s style as “unconventional” but he adores his job — like all eventing fans, particularly the cross country — and is an “out and out trier”, which is exactly the kind of horse you want to be sat on in the start box on Badminton cross country day.


Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

69. Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance (GBR)

Twelve-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Puissance – Cruising Jewel, by Cruising). Owned by Kathleen Wilkinson and Rachel Wood. Bred by Michael Byrne. Groomed by Sarah Murray, Kelly Reid, and Luke Burnett.

Wills is back for another trip around Eric Winters’ Badminton course, and this time he comes double-handed. On his Badminton debut in 2019, Wills finished 25th with Cooley Ramiro. This year he brings forward Arklow Puissance for the horse’s CCI5* debut. Horses have been part of Wills’ life since forever as his family owned a riding school, and it was there that his dreams of competing at Britain’s 5*s were fostered. As a teenager, Wills worked for Ian Stark, where he learned all about the hard work and dedication needed to achieve his goal of becoming a top rider. Wills says that Ian, alongside Andrew Nicholson, is his sporting hero. He’s now based at his own yard in Scotland, which he runs with his wife, Stephanie.

Wills has enjoyed much success on his rise through the ranks. He won team gold in the 2011 British Young Rider Championships at Blair Caster and in 2016 he made his Nations Cup debut, finishing 15th. In 2018 he was part of the silver medal team at the Nations Cup in Strzegom, where he was the highest placed British rider, finishing third individually. Wills made his 5* debut in 2013, but then faced a gap of six years before returning to the level at Badminton in 2019. He’s now back four years later and will be hoping for not one but two more 5* completions on his record.

Wills took over the ride on Arklow Puissance from Oliver Townend in 2022 and has completed five of his six FEI starts on the horse at 4* with clear cross country jumping in each of them. In the dressage, the gelding has scored everything from 32.1 to 42.6, which is his most recent form from the 4*-S at Burnham Market. That day they added only cross country country time to their dressage. Their only other run this year came in the 4*-S at Thoresby Park, where they managed a respectable 34.9 in the dressage, and added 21.2 time on what was a relatively slow day on the cross country overall due to difficult weather. That weekend they rolled two poles and had 2.4 time in the show jumping, but as their season opener, that can probably be overlooked – Arklow Puissance has jumped clear on the final day far more often than not.

Badminton is truly in Wills’ blood, given that his dad and his aunt have both completed the event. It’s Wills’ ambition to ride for Team GB and you can’t help but look at his experience and form as a rider and think that he’ll make it there one day. Wills doesn’t just enjoy equestrian sport, he also enjoys golf and pickleball. Another fun fact about Wills: he loves to do the laundry and is in total charge of the washing machine at home.


Luc Chateau and Viens du Mont. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

70. Luc Château and Viens du Mont (FRA)

Fourteen-year-old Selle Français gelding (Norway de la Lande – Kaline du Mont, by King’s Road xx). Owned by E.A.R.L. Haras des Chateaux. Bred by Maurice Viel. Groomed by Caroline Queval and Louise Bocquet.

French rider Luc Chateau’s second ride, Viens du Mont, comes forward for his second CCI5* competition, having been produced up the levels by Luc. Last year’s home soil 5* for the pair – Pau – saw them finish in ninth place, where they added just 4 show jumping penalties to their dressage of 39.8. Other notable results include a fifth place finish at Lignieres in the 4*-L in 2021, where it was a similar story – 38.6 in the dressage and a pole rolled on the final day.

They’ve scored as low as 32.9 in the dressage at 3* and as much as 47.5 at 4*; based on their most recent form we can expect a first-phase score in the 30s. Like his stablemate, it’s the cross country where Viens du Mont will really shine. He’s got no cross country jumping penalties on his record in 18 FEI runs and has only added time on four occasions. Despite this being the gelding’s first time at the level, we should certainly see them climbing the leaderboard on cross country day. The show jumping is a bit more tricky for him; he has penalties more often than not and doesn’t often manage to keep it to just one pole. In his four FEI runs in 2022, he’s jumped clear once, had one pole once, and had 12 faults twice. We’ll have to wait and see how he’s feeling on the final day and how he copes with the atmosphere in the main arena at Badminton.


Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

71. Rosalind Canter and Lordships Graffalo (GBR)

Eleven-year-old British Sporthorse gelding (Grafenstolz – Cornish Queen, by Rock King). Owned by Michele Saul. Bred by Lordships Stud. Groomed by Sarah Charnley and Travis Leigh.

While this year’s Badminton will only be Lordships Graffalo’s second start at the CCI5* level, he still has to be considered one of this year’s favorites. After all, his first 5* was last year’s Badminton where he finished on his dressage score to take second place behind London 52. Since then he’s also finished second in the 4*-S at Hartpury, fourth individual at the Eventing World Championships at Pratoni, and sixth (with a conservatively paced cross country round) in his 4*-S prep run this spring at Thoresby Park.

An 11-year-old, 17 hand bay gelding by the 4* eventing stallion Grafenstolz (a previous ride of Michael Jung), Lordships Graffalo – better known in the stable as “Walter” – has had an already very impressive career with current world number three rider Ros Canter in the irons. Despite his relatively young age for the level, Walter has never had a cross country jump penalty in international competition.

His success might be due, in part, to his unique personality – labeled “the yard clown”, Walter is known for being an entertainer, something that certainly helps him shine in the first phase. His talent across the country and ability to keep the jumps in the cups on the final day are certainly more than proven by this point in his career as well. Expect to see Walter and Ros near the top of the leaderboard after dressage, a spot that this pair is very capable of retaining throughout the weekend.


Harry Meade and Tenareze. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

72. Harry Meade and Tenareze (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Anglo Arabian gelding (Jaguar Mail – Utopie Du Maury X, by Quatar de Plape X). Owned by David Bernstein, Sophie Caruth, and Nigella Hall. Bred by Patrick Sisqueille. Groomed by Jess Errington and Molly Parkin.

Harry Meade’s third entry comes in the form of the Anglo Arabian Tenareze. At 16, he’s had an extensive competitive career that began with winning the World Championship for young horses at Le Lion D’Angers as both a six- and seven-year-old with former French rider Tom Carlile. He landed in Harry’s yard the following year, when Harry and his owners decided to geld Tenareze, though he still has frozen specimens available for artificial insemination.

Through his career, Tenareze has expressed difficulty with ditches, so to combat this Harry spent several seasons taking the horse hunting, to team chases and walked “1,000 ditches a month” to build his confidence. It was a long road, but this horse reached the 5* level last fall at Pau.

Tenareze is capable of going sub-30 in the first phase, and his 5* debut saw him on a dressage score of 29.3 before he had a drive by on the cross country, but Harry was still pleased with the horse’s efforts on many other accuracy questions they faced. That fault was Harry’s first 5* cross country jump penalty in 13 years, so he certainly won’t plan to make that mistake again. Tenareze has only a few poles marked on his International record, and he went clear at Pau, so if they can end anywhere near their dressage mark, they will put forth a competitive effort.


Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

75. Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR)

Sixteen-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Courage II x Kilderry Place, breeding unknown). Owned by Karyn Schuter, Angela Hislop, and Val Ryan. Bred by Noel Hickey.

It’s almost impossible to overlook this pair, who might well be the most consistent five-star competitors in the world: they’ve completed seven so far, winning two of them and never coming lower than fifth place. One of those wins was Burghley on the horse’s debut as a ten-year-old; the other was Kentucky in 2021. ‘Thomas’ also gave Oliver his long-awaited Olympic call-up, where they won team gold and finished fifth individually, and they went to Pratoni for the World Championships last year, though their shock four rails on the final day pushed them down to an uncharacteristic 16th place there and precluded another team gold, too.

With that behind them, though, it all bodes rather well for the tough-as-nails Yorkshireman and the rangy Irish gelding — one of five entries here, from which he’ll pick just two — who shares a sire with similarly quirky superstars Ringwood Sky Boy, the Duke of Cavan, and Cooley Rorkes Drift. A couple of outlier scores earlier in the horse’s career drive up his first-phase average, but you can realistically expect a 25 or lower – he’s scored a 20.8 and 21.1 at Badminton before, and though he’s not been quite as low since, he will fight hard for a top five placing in the first phase here.

He’s fast and as accurate as they come across the country, but it’s showjumping that can be the heartbreaker for this pair: they’ve only ever jumped clear on the final day in three long-format events, though one of those was a very convincing round at Kentucky when winning it last spring. A rail at Tokyo cost them individual gold, and they missed out on the win at Badminton in 2019 because they added a stride — and lost a couple of valuable seconds — in a line and handed the win to Piggy by less than the value of a single second.

Though he’s one of the world’s best horses – and has certainly contributed to making Oliver the World Number One – Ballaghmor Class wasn’t always an easy ride. “He’s always been very sharp and he’s had us all on the floor at home,” said Oliver after that first Burghley win. “He had a girl off going up the gallops just two weeks ago and he’s gone through arena mirrors and out of the school through the fence in the past. But I’ve always liked him and we’ve probably got a stronger relationship as a result.”


Laura Collett and Dacapo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

78. Laura Collett and Dacapo (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Diarado – Tosca, by Canturo). Owned by Dana Chappell, Richard and Gillian Morris-Adams, Alison Smedley, and Carolyn Taylor. Bred by ZG Kirsten & Eggert Bock. Groomed by Tilly Hughes and Cara Bexton.

There’s nothing like the pressure of coming into Badminton as the reigning champ, but it’s safe to say that if anyone can stay cool, it’s Laura Collett. After scratching her 2022 winning ride, London 52, after an unfortunate and untimely heel grab, she has just the 14-year-old German-bred gelding, Dacapo, to focus on.

“Cal” may not have quite the accolades of his stablemate (though let’s be honest, not many do), but he’s no wilting flower – when he chooses not to be. He seemed to really swing for the fences during his younger years, either coming out with a top placing, or picking up the odd cross country penalty. During that time, Laura was typically blindsided by his misses. “You have absolutely no idea [when he’s going to be naughty] – it comes out of nowhere.”

It seems, though, like he really found himself in 2022. He closed out the year by leading the first two phases in the four star at Boekelo, dropping to third with a rail on the final day. This was after winning the CCI4*-L at Millstreet and putting the naughtiness behind him, completing all his events without cross country jump penalties.

This Badminton will be his second attempt at the 5* level after retiring on course at Pau in 2021. He’s had a strong lead up, taking home the win at the CCI4*-S at the Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International and not finishing out of the top five of any event he’s completed since September of 2021.


Izzy Taylor and Graf Cavalier. Photo by Alex Jeffery.

79. Izzy Taylor and Graf Cavalier (GBR)

Thirteen-year-old British-bred Sporthorse mare (Grafenstolz – Cavalier Rose, by Cavalier Royale). Owned and bred by Trevor Dickens.

One of Izzy’s three ride options for this week is her only CCI5* debutant, the former Piggy March ride Graf Cavalier (who is, incidentally, owned by Vanir Kamira’s owner, Trevor Dickens). She’s had the ride since late 2019, and quickly moved her up to CCI4*-S, delivering classy clears for top twenty placings at both Burnham Market CCI4*-S in 2021 and Boekelo CCI4*-L in 2022. This is a very low mileage horse, though: in 2020 and 2021 apiece, she had just one FEI run, and in 2022, she only ran two internationals at the tail end of the year – one of those was that good Boekelo finish, while the other was a trip to Blenheim, where she was retired on course in the straightforward enough CCI4*-L.

This year, she did a dressage test at Thoresby CCI4*-S before Izzy withdrew all her rides in the tough conditions, and then rerouted to Burnham Market CCI4*-S, where she finished 29th after adding 6.4 time penalties and a rail to her 39.6 first-phase score. If Izzy opts to run the mare, she’ll arguably be one of the least experienced horses in the field – but Izzy is very good at managing that sort of dynamic. In any case, she won’t be fighting for a win here – rather, a foundation-laying, confidence-boosting run.


Fiona Kashel and Creevagh Silver de Haar. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

81. Fiona Kashel and Creevagh Silver De Haar (GBR)

Fifteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Camiro de Haar Z – Vanir Silver River, by Golden River). Owned by Fiona Kashel. Bred by Kathryn Jackson. Groomed by Emma Copestick and Amy Chittenden.

Starting their FEI partnership back in 2015, Fiona Kashel has guided Creevagh Silver De Haar from the CCI1* level to his first 5* at Badminton in 2022, which was also Fiona’s first ride at the 5* level. Since completing Badminton, we have seen the duo finish in the top three at Barbury Castle in the CCI4*-S, and complete another 5* at Pau in 2022.

We’ve seen the pair lay down some consistent dressage scores, often in the low to mid 30s. While these scores remain consistent even through the 5* level, at both Badminton and Pau in 2022, they gained a 20 for cross country jump penalties, and saw two rails in the show jumping at both events.

This duo has shown their skill in all three phases as they’ve moved up the levels, with consistent dressage scores and clear rounds in the jumping phases through the 4* level. As they enter into their third 5* level competition, it will be exciting to watch them build upon that success.


Dan Jocelyn and Blackthorn Cruise. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

82. Dan Jocelyn and Blackthorn Cruise (NZL)

Fourteen-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Vancouver – Ms Cruise, by Cruising). Owned by Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn. Bred by David Carey. Groomed by Debbie (DJ) Cunningham.

Long term owner Panda Christie sourced Blackthorn Cruise from Vere Phillips as a five-year-old, and Dan has taken him all the way through the levels – from BE100 all the way through to their first CCI5*-L at Burghley in 2021, where they finished a very respectable 24th.

Dan has somehow managed to complete all of his prep runs this season, with both Blackthorn Cruise and his stable mate, Cooley One To Many (also Badminton-bound). Given the less-than-favourable weather that has plagued the UK since the beginning of the 2023 eventing season, he must be one of the only ones to do so!

A fall in the CCI4*-S at Thoresby would admittedly not have been part of their plan, but happily they seem to have put that little incident behind them, with a double clear leaving them in second place in the Open Intermediate section at Kelsall Hill. Indeed, prior to Thoresby, one has to go back as far as 2019 to find a cross country jumping fault on this horse’s record – a pesky 11 penalties for activating a frangible pin on their Burghley debut. Likewise, Blackthorn Cruise’s show jumping bloodlines are clear to see when considering his impeccable record in the final phase, and his dressage scores have been gradually improving too. These two have a realistic chance of a top 20 finish, if not even better than that.

Part of the Silver medal winning Nations Cup team at Boekelo in 2022 – where they finished a tidy 13th individually – this is certainly a combination to keep your eye on, both here at Badminton and whatever may lie beyond that for them. The Kiwis could well have another weapon in their ever-increasing armory.


Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On. Photo by Libby Law.

84. Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On (GBR)

Fourteen-year-old Anglo European Sporthorse gelding (Billy Mexico – Shannon Line, by Golden Bash xx). Owned by Barbara and Nicholas Walkinshaw. Bred by Donal Barnewll. Groomed by Emily Gibson and Lily Wilson.

Billy Walk On returns to Badminton this year to put right his previous two outings at the UK’s first CCI5* of the season, having retired on the cross country after picking up a 20 in both 2022 and on his first attempt in 2019. But don’t let these blips on his record fool you into thinking he’s not up to the test. He was eighth at Burghley last year, adding just cross country time penalties to his lovely dressage of 26.2. He’s also been in the top ten in eight of his nine 4*-S starts, including a second place finish at Barbury Castle last year, where he posted an impressive 23.4 dressage. He was also second in the pop-up 5* at Bicton in 2021, where he set himself up beautifully with a 23.9 dressage adding just 4.8 cross country time to finish on a score of 28.7.

We can surely look forward to a dressage in the 20s, potentially the low 20s, and he could well be in the mix at the top of the leaderboard as he sets out cross country. A reliable show jumper, he’s more often clear than not; it’s the cross country time which has been most inconsistent, although he does have the odd jumping penalty on his record too. But Pippa’s got things in hand, doing “lots and lots of fitness work”, and his run at Bicton proved that a beefy galloping track really suits him.

The product of the Funnell’s Billy Stud, Billy Walk On is described by Pippa as “a big, long horse and quite a lot to keep together”, but Pippa knows how to manage all that leggy elegance, and the pair have had 24 top ten results from 37 FEI starts; for the first two seasons of his international career he never finished outside the top ten, including coming second in the 2016 Seven-Year-Old World Championship. Will this be his Badminton year? Time will tell. What we do know is that Pippa will be totally focused on doing her job – to give her horses “as good, as safe, and as fast a trip as is possible.”


Tim Price and Coup de Coeur Dudevin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

85. Tim Price and Coup de Coeur Dudevin (NZL)

Eleven-year-old Selle Français gelding (Top Gun Semilly – Tiebreak Combehory, by Leprince Des Bois). Owned and bred by Jean-Louis Stauffer. Groomed by Megan Hodder and Kerryn Edmans.

It is hard to believe that these two have only been together for a very short while. Previously campaigned by Chris Burton, before Tim’s wife Jonelle took over the ride taking him from CCI3*-L to CCI4*-S, “Joker” was only passed to Tim at the beginning of last year. Still, they have wasted no time in getting to know each other, posting some incredible results in a short time: second in their first CCI4*-L at Millstreet in June 2022, the two then headed stateside to contest their first CCI5*-L at Maryland which they promptly won, adding just 0.8 show jumping time to their dressage score to finish on a 28.2. Not bad for a then ten-year-old, and although Tim was perhaps not expecting to win, he went into the competition with a quiet confidence in his ability, which was satisfyingly justified on the final day and allowed Tim his fifth 5* win on as many horses. Could this also be the horse to win him a sixth 5* – and his first Badminton?

His cross country record would suggest so, and although they have been guilty of tipping a coloured pole or two, Joker is just as likely to leave them all standing, and their recent trip to Spain on the Sunshine Tour – along with his stablemate and fellow Badminton debutant, Vitali – will only have helped to improve this phase, too. Indeed, he has jumped a double clear on two out of three starts this season, posting a first phase PB of 21.1 at Kelsall Hill. This talented horse, though lacking in experience, has all the right ingredients to take the win, and who better than to guide him there than World Number 1, Mr. Price? Could we even see a Price One-Two, between Joker and Vitali? It is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, and would certainly help Tim on his way to retaining that Number One spot for another year running.


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