Badminton Horse Trials: a spectator’s view

  • I have recently returned from the 2007 Badminton Horse Trials and what an event it was — grace, action and high tension, right to the very last competitor.

    Due to work and travel commitments I had missed Badminton for the past four years. This year nothing was going to stop me attending; even my car hire company informing myself that they had rented out my car upon arrival… Yay, free upgrade…

    The riders’ improvment in the dressage phase was astounding compared to my last visit and the leader at the end of Friday, Lucinda Fredericks, justly deserved every mark awarded with a fluid, forward and obedient test. Riders, take note. Watch this test and study it fully.

    Cross-country day… drama, drama, drama. For every rider who opted to not run, I justly see their reasoning. More could have been done to improve the ground. Forecasts or no forecasts, one needs to be ahead of the game and listen to the riders.

    I was fortunate to see the course jumped by the riders electing to continue with true grit and determination. My two rides of the day go to, firstly, Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz. This horse jumped for sheer joy; the air he gave each obstacle at the Sunken Road was mammoth. I can only think that Nicola had a grin from ear to ear crossing the finishing line. And what can be said about Lucinda’s round? With such a brilliant and trusting relationship, she showed how to get out there and get the job done.

    My condolences go to Andrew Downes with Skwal and also Jean-Lou Bigot on Icare D’Auzay. Both were freak accidents that I hope will not have any lasting effects on the sport, except that from now on all flags will be on bendy posts.

    Lucinda took it to the wire on the Sunday. She deserves her win for never giving up on a chestnut mare that no one wanted to buy. Praise also to the German and New Zealand contingent. They both have something special to watch out for at next years Olympics.

    It was an honour to attend this year’s Badminton Horse Trials, I made lots of new friends, saw some incredibly action and superb horsemanship. Perhaps this year at the Burghley Horse Trials we can see another Australian take the top place. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I am Australian too. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie all the way.

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