The Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course will be designed entirely by the public for the first time in 2019, it has been confirmed.

Following the success of last year’s competition to recreate the last fence, and to mark the event’s 70th anniversary, course-designer Eric Winter has launched his “ambitious plan” to demolish and replace the current course.

The competition has been announced now, as it will be launched soon after this year’s event and with 45 jumping efforts, and one fence to be decided upon per week, this will leave some six weeks for the course to be built before the competition next year.

“The timing’s a bit tight, so I hope the public will come up with some good ideas,” Mr Winter told H&H.

“The competition is open to everyone, from age five to age 105, and you don’t have to have had any previous experience, in course-building or riding – I’m very interested to see what comes up.”

Mr Winter urged entrants to be as creative as they wish, citing the possibility of going back to Badminton’s traditional roots with hunting-type fences.

“We could even have some elements of the old long format, such as steeplechase fences and roads and tracks,” he said. “Don’t feel constrained by what you see at Badminton every year; with design and materials, the sky’s the limit.”

Entries will be judged by a panel including Mr Winter, fence-builder Hugh Jeauke and eventing safety expert Fran Jibelle. Each winner will be given a pair of free tickets to cross-country day at the 2019 horse trials and a professional picture of themselves next to their winning design.

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And the added bonus for Mr Winter will be an easing of the pressure.

“I’m looking forward to putting my feet up next year!” he said.

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