David Britnell’s Badminton first-timer blog: I would not want to be anywhere else in the world

  • Good morning!

    You would think a day between trot-up and dressage would be quiet wouldn’t you? Nope! Not at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, it isn’t!

    Continuity (Brad) slept well if his woodshavings layer was to be believed — tail like a Bedmax Christmas tree! His bed is gloriously deep as nothing is too much trouble for the officials and staff here. Wonderful.

    Mum hand-grazing Brad

    We did some more hand-grazing again, then it was up to the warm-up arena closest to the main arena for a little schooling and a test run through (pictured top hacking there with fellow competitor Imogen Murray).

    Cycling the course

    At home I have to encourage Brad to be ‘hot’ but here it was ‘defuse the tension’ time. Today was an exercise in ‘ride the horse you are sat on‘ as he was wired. Carl Hester‘s ‘micro-gives’ and transitions were employed by the hundred and I think today’s test at 10.42am will probably be similar.

    Schooling Brad

    I had a chance to meet some friends, chat with some fantastic sponsors and stall holders and even gave an interview to Horse & Hound — surreal! Brad had television crews turn up at his stable to film him too.

    Schooling Brad

    I cycled round the cross-country course with mum and friend Moi on foot. I find it easier to find the flow of the lines at speed though not all courses allow bikes. It was interesting to note how many public coursewalkers were ignoring the string and walking on the course itself. We gave up correcting the behaviour as we had been asked to do.

    I have decided on a couple of long options but otherwise I will go direct. The course requires the rider and horse to think the whole time. I predict many popping flags and busy fence judges.

    With fellow competitor Nicky Hill

    Thanks to some seriously heavy rain while doing yesterday afternoon’s hack, some nifty lifting had to be done to avoid wet gear back at our stables passageway!

    It was time for a shower then off the cocktail party in the house which was fun — it’s such a beautiful place. The canteen is pretty incredible too.

    This morning has been planned like a military campaign as mum gets very stressed if I am late. I have a relaxed attitude to getting on the horse that can sometimes wind her up but I won’t today.

    At the cocktail party

    My grandma has arrived to join the party so that makes this event extra special. She has always supported me in my passion and Brad adores the ‘lady with the grass nuts’.

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    So, today I may look very serious, even after my test. I will make a bubble around Brad and I because that is how we work best and so sometimes I imagine I look aloof. I will try to remember to come out of my bubble, and let you see how pleased I am, as we free walk out. But my computer of a brain will already be thinking what to say in the media centre.

    But please be assured that no matter the mark, no matter the test, I am having a party with my best friend and would not want to be anywhere else in the world!

    P.S. The very loud whooping you will hear after the test will be my mum. She has always done it and always will. #TEAMBRITNELL


    Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 2 May 2019).

    Our bumper 25-page Badminton report will be in our 9 May issue, including opinion from Mark Phillips and Peter Storr.

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