As day two of the dressage at this year's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (3-7 May) gets underway, excitement levels at H&H HQ are reaching fever pitch. If you're making the trip to Gloucestershire, take a look at our top tips to make the most out of the day
1. Know your way around the food and drink stands
“The Inverawe Smokehouses stand offers amazing traditionally oak-smoked Scottish fish and game — but don’t go there on an empty stomach else you will end up spending a small fortune!” says H&H‘s Gemma Redrup. Soak up the atmosphere with a drink on the luxurious Nyetimber bus, which is returning to the lakeside for 2017 — and you’d be foolish to leave without getting your fix of frozen yoghurt (weather dependent). If you’re bringing a picnic, plant yourself in front of the big screen so that you don’t miss any of the action.
2. Make a shopping list
Keep your shopping vouchers for the Badminton tradestands from the 27 April issue of Horse & Hound safe and start planning your annual equestrian shopping spree — from Hiho Silver jewellery to Jump 4 Joy fences and antiseptic spray.
And while you’re making your ultimate wish list, why not head straight for the horseboxes and trailers area and start dreaming about those rosewood finishes and super-smart cupboards.
The Shopping village will be open as follows for the rest of the weekend:
Friday 5 May: 9am–6pm
Saturday 6 May: 9am–7pm
Sunday 7 May: 9am–4pm
3. Come armed with the right kit
“April showers bring forth May flowers” sadly doesn’t always ring true for Badminton — so come prepared. A pair of waterproof over trousers could transform your day — and of course is the sun does decide to shine, get stocked up on suncream and water before you get there.
4. Dead phone? Don’t panic
Running out of phone battery can scupper your plans and leave you aimlessly wandering around the tradestands trying to find your friends. But ‘I Love My Phone’ on stand number 278 has come to the rescue, offering mobile phone charging and power banks.
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5. Know where to spot the celebs
Linger around long enough in front of Badminton House on Saturday morning and you’ll spot top horses grazing and being walked in hand.
And if you want the best chance of seeing multiple riders on the cross-country course, H&H‘s Pippa Roome suggests walking the course backwards. “You might get confused by the order of fences, but you’ll see lots more riders than if you walk round in order and keep pace with the same people,” she says.
6. Tune into Radio Badminton
Get the inside scoop by tuning into Radio Badminton at 106.1FM — the ideal compensation if you get stuck in traffic coming into the event.
Don’t miss out on special offers on Horse & Hound subscriptions at our stand (no 122). You can get 30% off our normal subscription price plus your choice of free gift — including Ariat jackets and Just Togs breeches — or you can save a huge 50% when you choose not to take the gift.
If you’re going to Badminton on Saturday and know you will have withdrawal symptoms by Sunday, tune into BBC2 from 2-4pm to watch the cross-country highlights and live final rounds of showjumping. And if you can’t make it on Saturday the cross-country will be being shown live on the red button from 11.20-5.10pm. For today’s dressage (5 May) and the lower-order showjumping and prize-giving on Sunday (7 May), we will be hosting the Badminton livestream on our website.