Laura Collett and her Olympic gold medal horse, London 52, won Badminton yesterday, adding just 04 penalties to their dressage score. Winning with a total score of 21.4 set a new record for the Horse Trials. Ros Cantor, who finished second on Lordships Graffalo, was the only rider to finish on their dressage score and Oliver Townend finished third on Swallow Springs, despite almost being eliminated after a very sticky jump over the final part of the HorseQuest Quarry at fence 4ABC, where Swallow Springs left out a stride and came down over the fence. There was some debate over whether the horse went through the flags and if his hind end effectively cleared the jump. Oliver continued on course and the decision to eliminate him was reversed.
“I have no words – that horse is amazing,” a very emotional Laura said after her round on the 13-year-old, owned by Keith Scott, Karen Bartlett and Laura. “He jumped his socks off – I couldn’t see a distance anywhere and he just went higher and higher and I’m just so lucky.”
“It’s been my childhood dream – when I was three, my aunty walked me around Badminton on her shoulders when Pippa Funnell won and ever since then, I wanted to be Pippa Funnell.”Laura Collett
The two videos below show what it was like to ride London 52 over the course — you gotta love helmet cams — and what it was like to be a spectator.
“The horse was just amazing – I never knew how deep he would dig for me and he just kept on digging – it was relentless out there,” said Laura after her round at the event, which is presented by Mars Equestrian. “The only time he questioned my sanity as to what on earth I was asking him to do was at the Vicarage Vee, but he just said ‘OK, you say we go, we go’.”
Listen to Horse and Hound’s Interviews with Laura Collett after cross country and show
The course had a 73% completion rate, with 58 of 80 starters crossing the finish line, and a 63% clear jumping rate. A total of six of the 80 starters came home clear and inside the time. Thirteen horses were eliminated and 7 retired on course. Seven horses fell on course, as did three riders. The optimum time was 11:44.
You can review the fence analysis here. What’s really nice is that if you click on the fence number, you see a photo of the fence, it’s position on the course and an audio recording of course designer Eric Winter describing the intent of the fence. He says the Equestrian Bridge has been a fixture since 2017.
“It jumps really well. It’s just a leap of faith. The ditch is a maximum width ditch at the bottom, at 3 meters wide (9’84”). The top of the fence, across the angle, is 2 meters (6’5″). It’s a big old fence, but horses at this level should just gallop down and fly over it.”Eric winter