Top British event rider Piggy French knows what it takes to jump clear around the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course. She’s managed it three times during her impressive career to date, which has also seen her representing Britain at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2011 European Championships.
Her first clear cross-country round was on her Badminton debut in 2003 riding her team gold medal-winning young riders horse Flintlock II. She also went clear cross-country with What A Performance in 2007, before coming so close to winning her first Badminton title riding Jakata in 2011, when finishing a close second to the great Mark Todd.
What does Piggy make of the Badminton 2015 cross-country course?
In our exclusive video (top), Piggy walks what are expected to be two of the most influential combinations on the 2015 course: fences 8A/B at the ISH Studbook Huntsmens Close and fences 15 and 16A/B at the Swindon Designer Outlet Mound.
ISH Studbook Huntsmens Close
“Now we really know we’re at Badminton,” says Piggy. “These corners are massive. I think they’ll ride a lot better being at the beginning of the course. You definitely need to be accurate here, but you also need to be in Badminton mode: be attacking and brave at these fences. If you’re brave and get two positive jumps in here, that will set you up for the rest of the course.”
Swindon Designer Outlet Mound
“We’re at the dreaded mound fence, which does walk a bit better than it did last year. The single log at fence 15 sets you up nicely, but it’s the land between 15 and 16A that’s the tricky part of this combination. It’s very undulating and then there’s a steep rise on a bit of a curve to arrive at 16A.
“You need to be well balanced and ride very positively to make sure you meet it on a good stride and that your horse has focussed on to it. If you’ve jumped element A well, then I expect B will be a breeze. I expect the last log will ride very nicely if you haven’t had a problem on the top of the mound.”
Read Piggy’s thoughts on every fence on the 2015 cross-country course in tomorrow’s Horse & Hound magazine, which also includes discount vouchers which you can redeem in the shopping village. Don’t miss it — on sale Thursday 30 April