Badminton takes its toll

I read somewhere that after last year, Mark Todd said that the Badminton course was more like a 3 1/2* rather than a 4*. Be careful what you wish for. This year’s course was tough, made even tougher by bad weather. The result? Some of the top names in eventing didn’t complete the course.

Out of the 78 riders who started today only 35 finished — and that didn’t include Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, or William Fox-Pitt on at least one of their horses. No riders made the time and only 22 jumped clear. 12 riders completed but had one or more refusals. 25 riders were eliminated on cross country, 18 retired and five withdrew before cross country.

Sadly, the leader after dressage, Clark Montgomery retired Loughan Glen after a stop in Huntsman’s Close.

Not much video out there yet on XC but here’s a great snippet of Mary King making a fantastic save after the keyhole jump. Unfortunately, she retired on course soon after.



One thought on “Badminton takes its toll

  1. I hope this is the start of the return of eventing as it once was: I think after the late 90s/early 00s grim days, when it seemed like an event didn’t pass without a fatality, the combination knee-jerk reaction of shortening cross country day and hugely overhauling the jumping phase which remained changed the sport into something unrecognisable initially. The reaction was heavy-handed, and riders and horses adapted quickly to the “new” format, but it demanded a different kind of horse and rider skills. Mary King offered a comment in her book which was along the same lines as Mark Todd’s: that when she was young, she grew up in awe of the iconic fences at Badminton and Burghley, and that when she started riding round those courses for the first time, it was like riding a Who’s Who of eventing fences – the Vicarage Vee, the Lake, the Leaf Pit, the Trout Hatchery… and that all disappeared for a while. Badminton has tried to bring it back and, if the event continues in this way and other events follow, there will be another period of readjustment – the younger riders in their 20s and even early 30s won’t know how to ride the traditional enormous courses, so will have to learn. And the older riders will have to remember how to do it! But if the course designers persist with the return to tradition, mixed with new safety features and a twist of the technicality we’ve seen in recent years, the cross country will once again do what it should – sort the riders and horsepeople from those who merely stay on a horse, and make the sport a strong test and spectacle.

Leave a Reply