David Britnell’s Badminton first-timer blog: it was everything I dreamed of

What a huge relief and fantastic sense of achievement it is to have completed my first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Continuity (AKA Brad) is now eating his head off happily in his field and telling the others all about the huge fun he had.

N.B: Please be patient while the video below loads

Donning my familiar green tweed with added lapel rose, Brad was accepted at the the trot up on Sunday morning (pictured top).

Heading into the Badminton arena to showjump later that day, I was relaxed and focused. Brad had warmed up beautifully and felt 100%.

I felt him grow a hand as he saw the crowds and felt the atmosphere. He was jumping out of his skin and upon reflection he was better than me on the day. Unfortunately my relaxed mindset did not inspire sufficient engagement for an adjustable enough canter on a couple of occasions, so Brad lowered three poles.

Brad on the cross-country

Knowing I could have ridden a better round has frustrated me (as it should) but I believe ‘you either win or you learn’ and we will go double clear at five-star level.

We have already discussed the rest of the season and as Brad looks so well Burghley is definitely in my crosshairs!

The childhood dream of competing at Badminton was everything I hoped for. Idyllic surroundings, superb food, wonderful camaraderie, a phenomenal learning experience, out of this world support from family, friends, sponsors, supergrooms and well-wishers (aka fellow horse-infected people!).

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Thank you all so much for following my blog in the run-up to and during Badminton. The sheer adrenalin rush and ‘out of my comfort zone feeling’ is something I will never forget and I will keep seeking.

David

Don’t miss next week’s issue of H&H (dated 9 May) for the full report from Badminton Horse Trials