Catch up with all the latest news from the world of horse trials in our weekly column from Eventing magazine editor Kate Green

Australian double Olympic gold medallist MattRyan has the dubious honour of being trailblazer for the new dressage test and the new-look cross-country course at this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton horse trials (May 2-5).

The cross-country course takes a new direction this year, starting and finishing in the main arena.

The daunting Keeper’s Brush is the second fence on the course, while the first real question comes at fences four and five – the downhill Beaufort Steps with a narrow fence at the bottom.

Rather than send riders to the lake so early, Badminton course-designer and director Hugh Thomas has sent them towards the Vicarage Vee, where the questions – a coffin, the Pinin bank and log, angled hedge(Shogun Turn), Vicarage Vee and bounce into the Carisma Pond – come thick and fast.

A new corner complex replaces the unpopular Beer Garden area before riders head, via the sunken road, back towards thelake. Here there is a big brush in and a short distance to a bank and bounce over another brush to a boat out.

Horses then loop back left-handed through what used to be the old start/finish area towards Huntsman’s Close, where there is an extremely tight angle across a curving rail and a narrow brush.

This is followed by the Pheasant Feeders, the Quarry and penultimate obstacle, the Rolex Turn – a spread to a “skinny” combination.

Fences designs and the running order of competitiors are available on the Badminton website at www.badminton-horse.co.uk

Action from Weston Park

Several Badminton entrants were on viewat Weston Park advanced horse trials this weekend. Placed combinations included:

  • Carole Dennis (Beckett ll)

  • Emily Clarke (Glengarry)
  • Andrew Nicholson (New York and Sheff’s Choice)
  • Cressie Clague-Reading (Arden Beverley Westwood)
  • Capt Richard Waygood (Master Fred)
  • Isla Johnson-Wells (Park Preview)
  • Marie Sleet (Penny Royal lll)
  • Bettina Hoy (Unsung Hero)
  • Rodney Powell (Weebolla).

First test for fragible fence

The new “frangible” fence proved its worth in its first practical outing at Weston Park.

Rodolphe Scherer was riding a novice horse, which hit the post and rails fitted with the safety pin device. The top pole dropped, preventing his horse from somersaulting, although the pair still fell.

The pin will be used on selected fences at other events this spring, including at Badminton, after which the situation will be reviewed and its country-wide implementation will be discussed.

For full results from Weston Park, plus results from Withington and Ivesley, see the British Eventing website at www.britisheventing.com

Don’t miss Badminton previews in the May issue of Eventing, on sale now, and this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (22 April).

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Read more about the run up to Badminton: