Badminton Horse Trials - May

Wednesday 3rd - Sunday 7th May 2017

 

Badminton Horse Trials is one of the toughest and most exciting equestrian events - the pinnacle of the world’s 4-Day-Event calendar. It features some of the world’s top event riders who are all seeking the prestigious award of Badminton Winner.  Badminton's shopping village is one of the many highlights of the event each year, attracting a huge collection of many well known brands, which in turn attracts a huge audience of shoppers from across the world. So why don’t you pop along to Hiho stand 180 and see the fantastic new collections on offer… To buy tickets, visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk and don't forget to shop the Badminton Equestrian Collection

 

Badminton Horse Trials - May


What is a Horse Trial?

Badminton Horse Trials is a 4-day event, but in traditional English style, is confusingly held over 5 days, not 3. Wednesday is the First Horse Inspection where each horse is checked to ensure they are ok to compete, Thursday and Friday are both Dressage days, Saturday is the Cross Country Phase and Sunday starts with the Trot Up and finishes with the Show Jumping phase. The scores from each phase are then combined together to give the overall score for the event. International Events are graded according to level of difficulty. The higher the grade the more complex and physically demanding each phase becomes. Stars are awarded to indicate the Event’s Grade. Badminton is a 4 Star Event, the highest grade and one of only 6 such events in the world. Badminton is the oldest and generally accepted as the most prestigious and toughest event.

Badminton Horse Trials - May

Dressage, the first phase, is designed to show off the horse’s suppleness, rhythm and, most importantly, obedience and harmony with the rider. It is used to show that a horse that can later go on to complete a long, challenging cross country course, also has the training to be graceful and precise. It is amazing to watch such large animals floating along seemingly with no directions from their rider.

Badminton Horse Trials - May

Cross Country, the most popular phase, requires extreme fitness and trust from both rider and horse. The course is built of several incredibly solid, natural fences, over a long course.

The Trot Up is the make or break time for many horses. Before the event, each horse is assessed to make sure they are fit enough to compete over these gruelling days, and then once again, on the Sunday morning. This is a very formal affair, and each horse must be turned out to perfection, along with their neatly dressed riders. A vet will then give them a pass, allowing them to continue into the Show Jumping Phase, or a fail, meaning their dreams of that prize have to come to an end. The King of the Road likes to watch this in the morning with his bacon butty before he opens up shop.

Badminton Horse Trials - May

The Show Jumping Phase is used to test the horse’s fitness and agility. The course is usually made of around 12 knock down, coloured fences at around 1m20 in height. Riders must jump every fence clear, within the time limit. The course is small compared to most show jumping competitions, but remember, each horse has had to take it’s rider around a long course the previous day, so to do any of the jumps is an achievement in itself. Competitors jump in reverse order, leading to a tense atmosphere as the leading riders enter the ring to jump. 

Badminton Horse Trials - May

Badminton Horse Trials - May

What to wear

England being England, the weather is never a certain thing. Despite being in may, Badminton weather can range from Heat Wave to Torrential Rain, sometimes within the weekend itself, so prepare for all eventualities! Lightweight clothes are a must though, whatever the weather. In heat waves, it will stop you from overheating, and if it decides to pour with rain, they can dry easily. There is nothing worse than having to walk a cross country course wearing wet jeans.

Wellies and a coat are also a good idea to have in the back of your car so that if it does decide to pour with rain, you can quickly change; even once it has stopped raining, the grass will be soaked and you may end up with the two-tone trouser effect.  Chuck a sunhat and suncream in the back of the car as well, so if the sun does appear, you can be prepared for it, and avoid looking like a tomato.

Footwear wise, stilettos are really not recommended. Even in incredibly dry weather, your heels will end up disappearing into the ground. Flat, comfortable shoes that are easy to walk in are a good idea for when it is dry. Blisters are your worst enemy, and they tend to prey on anyone who thinks they can “get away with it”. 

And last but not least, jewellery. Badminton is, after all, a 4 star international event, and you need to accessorise accordingly. We'd recommend our fabulous Equestrian Collection. Whether you are planning on visiting the members tent or not, this gorgeous collection is absolutely perfect. So how about putting on your snaffle necklace and earrings, and rocking the Trials in style. If you don't have one, fear not, just pop by our Equestrian Collection and treat yourself. 

Our Hints and Tips

  • Other than clothes, in the back of your car, you might want to also have a waterproof backed picnic blanket or even a couple of lightweight canvas chairs if you don’t feel like walking too far, although of course just far enough to come and visit us! Both of these will stop you from needing to sit on the wet grass when your legs give out.
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of liquids. It is a long day, and whether it is cold or hot, you will need to stay hydrated to avoid the paramedics having extra work. Unfortunately, alcohol doesn’t count…
  • Sunday is the best day for shopping. Stall holders don’t really want to take all their stuff back, so you can grab some great bargains
  • Tune in to Badminton Radio as you get near the event on 87.7FM to get regular updates.
  • If you are coming on Saturday, arrive in plenty of time as there can be very long queues, or even better, stay in nearby Accomodation on Friday night, avoiding the incredibly early morning. 
Badminton Horse Trials - May
Badminton Horse Trials - May

Where to stay

There are several really nice places to stay in the area. Our pick of the bunch is Snooty Fox and the Best Western Compass Inn. Alternatively, you can visit www.laterooms.com to see the brilliant selection of accommodation available. Just type Badminton Horse Trials into the Search Box, and away you go! Or if you want the more luxurious approach, take a peek at some of the top quality hotels available at www.offpeakluxury.com.

Where is it?

Badminton Horse Trials is halfway between Bristol and Swindon. It is very clearly sign posted from almost every direction, they don’t recommend using your SatNav though as it doesn’t take into account the AA directions you are given. 

Badminton Horse Trials - May