Director Hugh Thomas is confident that the recent wet weather will not lead to the cancellation of this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (5-8 May).

“It has been wet in England over the winter and it’s been very wet here the past couple of weeks just as it was starting to dry up,” he told the assembled press at the preview day yesterday (13 April).

“But if we had the event today we could run — the ground would be soft, but we could definitely hold the event.”

The traditional media drive around the cross-country course took a slightly different route to usual to avoid the wettest parts of Badminton Park. The snake of vehicles followed public roads from the Irish Horse Gateway Huntsmans Close up to the Gatehouse New Pond, rather than driving across the Park from The Lake to the Vicarage fields.

Wet weather caused Badminton to be cancelled in 2012, when the team decided to call off the event on the Monday before the event. The weather also led to cancellation in 1987, 1975 and 1966, while in 1963 the event ran as a one-day event due to ongoing poor weather. In 2001 the event was cancelled because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Yesterday’s preview day was also a celebration of 25 years of Mitsubishi Motors sponsorship at Badminton.

“Twenty-five years is a very long time for us to put up with each other,” joked Mitsubishi’s Lance Bradley. “I’m not the first managing director to stand before you, but we’ve each felt a real sense of pride to be a partner in this event for such a long time.”

Hugh Thomas added: “We’re very pleased indeed the partnership has lasted as long as it has. I don’t think either of us will be doing these jobs for the 50th anniversary, but you never know!”


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Mitsubishi also presented a unique rocking horse to the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort to mark the occasion. The rocking horse was commissioned from Stevenson Brothers and is a replica of Countryman III, the horse the Duke competed at Badminton three times, finishing second in 1959.

Lance Bradley presents the rocking horse to the Duchess of Beaufort

Lance Bradley presents the rocking horse to the Duchess of Beaufort


H&H will be covering Badminton in full online with reports, blogs and our renowned written commentary, H&H Live. Plus don’t miss H&H’s Badminton magazine coverage:

  • 28 April: preview including course walk with triple Badminton winner Ian Stark
  • 5 May: pull-out form guide with info on every horse and rider competing
  • 12 May: 22-page report including full analysis and expert comment