Double Badminton winner William Fox-Pitt walked the course for this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton for Horse & Hound. He shares his thoughts on two of the key fences in our exclusive videos, brought to you in association with Ariat
Fences 7 and 8abc: L200s and The Lake
The L200s demands more concentration when riders and horses can see the water behind.
The Lake has been a bit soft recently and it’s good to see it tougher. The construction of the log in, with upside-down Vs at the sides, elevates the scare factor. It’s actually only 1.10m tall — though with a 2m drop on landing — and the level approach is quite kind.
There is a choice of exits, both with a ramped step — a design Eric tested at Tweseldown and which should jump well — and a stride to an angled brush arm. There isn’t much time difference.
I would jump the log slightly to the left and make a 90˚ turn in the water, then ride forward to the right-hand step. I feel the longer distance on the left, plus the ground, encourages a run-out. But that line is more flowing so riders whose horses launch into water and are hard to turn will favour it.
There is a proper long route, too.
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Fence 10abc: Shogun Hollow
The direct route is a right-handed corner (ab), then down into the dip — which will throw horses off kilter — on a right-hand curve and out over a left-handed corner (c).
The corners are fashionably open and have a decent angle (90˚), without being massive. The question here is where riders decide to pull off the rails on the left-hand side, which prevent the ideal approach to the second corner.
Those who are nervous could dive too quick, but if the horse clings to the rail and turns too late, he will end up coming back at the fence. Personally, I would choose a post as my turning point and aim at the big tree by the Devoucoux Oxer (fence 18).
The long option involves two corners (a and c) plus a parallel (b) on a looping line.
Find out William’s overall impression of the course and read his analysis of every fence in Horse & Hound this week (on sale Thursday, 27 April)