If you’ve never heard of Badminton Horse Trials, this blog/newsletter might not be for you. 😊 In summary, it’s one of only a handful of big International 5* events held under FEI (Federation Equestrian International) rule, which takes place at the beautiful Badminton House in Gloucester. Basically the ‘Big B’ is big deal, where the crème de la crème of eventers gather for a week of 3 day-eventing (dressage, show jumping, and cross country) over the biggest cross country course horses will see in the UK (other than Burghley in September).
For starters, I’m not sure I’ve ever talked about the weather so much as I did at Badminton Horse Trials with friends and stand owners. However, thanks to the weather gods – we stayed dry! Apart from some tiny specks of rain – so I’ll take that.
Right on with the show! I wanted to give you a whistle-stop tour of what my day looked like at Badminton, in case you’re planning on visiting over the weekend, or in the future or would just love to know what I got up to.
05:00: Woke up feeling like an excited child at Christmas. It’s Badminton day!
06.05: Then remembered the weather forecast predicted an 80% chance of rain and lightning, so had a panic on what to wear.
08:00: Horses turned out, car packed, coffee at the ready and the Eventing Podcast Badminton Preview downloaded prepared for the 2-hour journey to Badminton begins.
10.15: Arrived via the old-style roads and tracks which was a great experience. Where’s a four-wheel drive for the full off-road experience when you need one? The journey was really smooth getting to Badminton and don’t forget you can tune into Badminton radio when you’re about 3 miles away – 87.7 so you don’t miss a thing if you’re in the queue. Tuning into the radio and hearing the commentators talk about the competitors and the different phases – will most certainly help you get into the mood for Badders.
10.30: Found my fellow Badminton dressage day buddy Shona and her friend Netty – now what to do first – shopping or watch dressage?
10.50: Headed into the Rural Crafts tent (right by the entrance) and found the beautiful Emily Cole Illustrations stand (#204). If you’ve not heard of or seen Emily’s work before – head to www.emilycole.com; she produces beautiful products with quirky equestrian illustrations. I bought the weekly eventing desk planner (£14) which keeps me very organised. There are also some new products in collaboration with Esme.
11:00: Went and said hello to good friends of Hiho Silver – Mackenzie & George who are also in the Rural Crafts tent. Brownwen. Archie and founder/designer Chris were running the stand – sad to miss seeing Melanie. M&G has just launched a new product – luxe hat clips – to clip your hat to your bag, belt loop for that extra convenience. My go-to product would still be the Badminton Belt at £79 – which would make a great memory from your visit. www.mackenzieandgeorge.com
11.25: In the World of the Horse – you’ll find lots of equestrian stands from feed suppliers, brands you would never have heard of through and discover new products, plus brands you’ll recognise. We stopped to chat with the vets from Protexin – I gave my feedback about the discontinuation of the amazing Recover Aid, and then at the Premier Performance stand discovered Energy Cookies – £12 for 10 or x2 bags for £20 – so a purchase for Leo and Shona’s horses were made.
We stopped to say hello to Rebecca from Equi Light who if you’ve not heard of them before – produce stylish and practical LED headbands, beanies & Hi-Viz accessories. They’ve just launched a new LED headband for your riding hat, which you can adjust for running too. I’m definitely adding this to my list, along with their hi-vis tabard. www.equi-light.com
12:10: A quick pit stop for lunch at Glamorgan Way and watch Hugo Payne and Dynasty’s dressage test on the big Ariat Screen. I went for what felt like a huge sausage roll and a can of Coke which came to about £8. Yes, food at Badminton can be a little pricey, but there is a lot of variety and food in lots of convenient locations.
12:30: Headed down to Beaufort Way to stand #250 to meet up with Sophie & April from JB Promotions who were on the Haybrook & Co stand helping support the launch of their new luxury tack lockers. They have 3 styles and sizes of tack lockers – the Bounce where you can fit 2 saddles and bridles, along with rugs and boots starting at £1,200, the Skinny and finally the Combination (£2,600) – which is the largest of the range and like having an equestrian office on wheels, with multiple drawers and storage. They would all be perfect at a yard where you want to keep your items safe and near your stable or take to a stay-away show. They can all be customised to your needs so worth having a chat if you’re there – & they also have a cheeky bar at the back. www.haybrookandco.co.uk
13:00: Spotted Blackdown Shepherd Huts #255 Beaufort Way – some other friends of Hiho Silver who produce the most beautiful Shepherd Huts including Dimpsey Glamping. www.dimpsey.co.uk
13:15: Stopped by Hiho Silver #179 Deer Park Drive which looked very busy with lots of people adding to their Hiho collection or buying a memento from the Badminton Collection. Also, if you do stop by the stand – you might see some familiar faces on their social wall backdrop. There are some beautiful photos by photographer Rachel Collins of myself and eventer Rosie Fry from our recent interview in Dorset. Let me know if you see them!
13:50: Headed to the Fairfax and Favour Lakeside area to check out the famous Badminton Lake – you can see the full course designed by Eric Winter www.badminton-horse.co.uk/2023-cross-country-course Was lovely to be able to see the fences so clearly, as I imagine it will be very busy on the cross country day.
14:20: Watched some afternoon dressage in the Grandstand including Young Rider Felicity Collins on RSH Contend’or and Irish eventer Susie Berry on Albie. Also spotted and said hello & good luck to Aaron Millar with KEC Deakon (#45).
14:50: Grabbed a hot dog from one of the foodie stands at the World of Food and Drink. You’ll never go hungry or thirsty at Badminton – that is for sure.
15:00: Popped by the famous Badminton Horse Trials scoreboard – there’s something quite magical about seeing the old-school score board. I wonder who will be leading the dressage after today?
16:20: On the way back to the car we walked some of the course, spotted Lucinda Green on a course walk and tried to work out how will competitors be tackling Huntsman Close there’s a quick route over the corners or a longer route taking on the cart. It’s certainly all to play for on Sunday.
16:30: And that was a wrap from my day at Badminton for the dressage day courtesy of the Hiho Silver team. I hope you enjoyed some snippets from behind the scenes and recommendations of stands to visit. If you’re attending this weekend – have an amazing time and if you’re not, make sure you sign up to watch on Badminton TV – more details below.
- Watch Badminton – www.watch.badminton-horse.tv
- The latest results will be published here – www.badminton-horse.co.uk/dressage-results-2023
- Follow Badminton Horse Trials on Instagram for all the behind-the-scenes @bhorsetrials
I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes from Badminton Horse Trials, would love to know if you’re going or watching on Badminton TV. And who do you think is going to take the converted title?