Horse & Hound’s forum users share their tips on how to make your visit to the 2008 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials go as smoothly as possible.

Getting there

  • Fly in — beats all the traffic [StinkerStonkersMum]
  • Far cheaper than flying in — get there as soon as the gates open: no queues; no waiting; park in the front row of the Lake car park; walk the course when it is still lovely and quiet; hit the tradestands when they are first open [Acolyte]
  • Arrive early and leave late! [Safina]
  • Prepare for long queues to get into Badminton on Saturday. Leave early [lec]
  • Stay over somewhere nearby, then you can make the most of the days there and not worry about the drive home [HorseS0S]

What to take

  • Wear sensible shoes [BlueNRed]
  • Bring clothes for all weathers — sunglasses and pac-a-macs are essential, as is sunblock! [Twiglet]
  • Take tissues (for the loo run) and lots of water [Charlee]
  • Take hand sanitiser and tissues — portaloos are still portaloos even if they are well managed. [Twiglet]
  • PLEASE leave your dogs at home. I love dogs but don’t want to spend the day tripping over them and wiping their deposits off my boots [spaniel]
  • If you must bring your dog then think about putting them in the excellent dog creche when you want to hit the shops [Weezy]
  • DO NOT leave dogs in your cars. The RSPCA will forceably remove them if they feel they are in distress. [Maia]
  • Take a couple of black bin liners — if the grass is damp you can sit on them while having lunch and then put all your rubbish in them after [Ditzy]
  • Travel light — you won’t want to walk back to your car, so take a rucksack and carry as little as possible [DidiR]
  • Leave young children at home with grandparents. It is just too much walking for them [dozziesmummy]
  • Tie a marker to your car so you can find it easily at the end of the day, but also make sure you know where you have parked in case the marker gets blown away [dozziesmummy]
  • Make sure your friends wear something easily recognisable on their head or neck so you can find them in the crowd. [artyannie]
  • Do take a pair of binoculars: they are handy in the dressage for a close up view of the action and on the cross-country when you can stand back and watch a horse over a number of fences [artyannie]
  • If you are taking a small person with you, attach your mobile phone number to them in some way. That way if they do get ‘lost’ you will get them back [Pudpud]
  • Don’t forget your camera [HorseS0S]
  • Pack a picnic and don’t forget the Pimms and lemonade [kick_On]

Shopping and eating

  • Make use of the shop and drop service [Safina]
  • Shop at lunchtime and eat during off-peak times — you’ll spend less time queueing [Safina]
  • Bring plenty of cash — there are no machines on site and while Thomas Cook offer a withdrawal service, the queues are often very long [Safina]
  • Arrive early to shop if possible [Twiglet]
  • Go on dressage days to shop — shopping at the weekend is a nightmare [Weezy]
  • The big screen is a great meeting point — you can sit down, not miss any of the action and grab food and drink[lec]
  • Get lots of Pimms for your other half early on — then they don’t seem to care as much about the burning plastic smell emitting from your (or even better their) wallet! [minerva]
  • Buy a season ticket and then you get to park near the shops so you don’t have to carry your bags very far! [kick_On]

Dressage/show jumping day

  • Take time to watch competitors in the warm up arena — you can get very close to them and might pick up some good tips [Safina]
  • Tune into Radio Badminton for all four days — the headset is WELL worth the money
  • Go on dressage day to walk the course if you are that way inclined, then you can settle yourself in front of big screen for cross-country day and have a handy Pimms source close at hand [Weezy]
  • Don’t wear a wide brimmed hat and turn off your mobile phone [artyannie]
  • Pack your car for every weather occasion and then decide on what you need when you get there. It gets cold sitting in the stands even on a warmish day [lec]
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute to go back to your seat and don’t sit in someone else’s seat so you have to keep moving between tests [artyannie]
  • Use loos that are off the main drag — less queue time and cleaner [Safina]

Cross-country day

  • Decide whether to walk cross-country or do shops if visiting on cross-country day as it is hard to squeeze both in [BlueNRed]
  • If there is a crowd at a fence its usually because a competitor is about to jump. If you wait for them to jump the crowd normally moves off to the next fence leaving you with a few minutes to get a comfortable position to watch the next rider (this doesn’t apply to water jumps — they are always crowded!) [masterbronze]
  • Bear in mind that with round 30 fences on the cross-country course, you will probably only be able to see two riders over each fence. You will miss some as you are walking the long stretches in between, so watch and move on! [DidiR]
  • Have a huge breakfast so you only need some chips or a crepe to keep you going — the food really isn’t great and it is expensive [Weezy]
  • Use the loo every time you are near one that way you wont have to leg it to one in a panic. [artyannie]
  • Dont allow your kids to swing on the ropes that mark out the cross-country course [artyannie]
  • Walk the cross-country course at end of the day. It gives you a real ideal of just how MASSIVE the fences are! [annie0bigC]
  • Please take your rubbish home with you and use the crossing points on the course — they are not there for the stewards, they are for you! [artyannie]
  • Listen to fence judge’s whistles — it’s for your own safety — and don’t walk on the course [breathless]
  • Be prepared to wait your turn at the cross country jumps to get a good view. Take something to sit on while you wait! [horseygirl28]
  • When you’re stuck in the enormous queues to leave, tune into Radio Badminton from your car and listen to the analysis of the day [Twiglet]

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