Badminton Horse Trials will move a day later for the next three years, to run from a Friday to Monday over the first May bank holiday weekend.

Since 1956, the famous horse trials has run from a Thursday to Sunday. But from 2010 until at least 2012, dressage will now be held on Friday and Saturday, cross-country on Sunday and the show jumping on bank holiday Monday.

The move, which was announced today, is to fit in with a three-year deal between Badminton and BBC television.

The BBC has agreed to extend its coverage of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials until 2012. Viewers will be able to watch guaranteed live red button and broadband coverage of the whole cross-country day (Sunday) as well as a two-hour programme on the Monday combining highlights of the cross-country and dressage phases and live conclusion of the show jumping.

Badminton director Hugh Thomas told H&H: “The BBC suggested [the date change] and we thought — why not? We asked people and no one thought there would be a problem, Badminton quite often runs over the bank holiday weekend anyway.”

The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials runs this year from 7-10 May. In 2010, it will run from 30 April – 3 May; in 2011 it will run from 29 April – 2 May and in 2012 from 4-7 May.

www.badminton-horse.co.uk