11 things you absolutely must do and see if you’re going to Badminton Horse Trials

  • If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the Mars Badminton Horse Trials (8–12 May 2024), and perhaps haven’t visited before or you would just like reminding what’s on offer for you, here is our complete guide on what you really need to check out while you’re there.

    Walk the cross-country course

    Make sure that, no matter which day you’re visiting Badminton, you take a walk around the iconic five-star cross-country course – until you’ve seen those fences in person, you don’t really get a true taste for how enormous they are! Just make sure you stand behind the roped off areas of the course and don’t walk up to the fences as the Badminton team work very hard to ensure the best ground for the five-star competitors. Alternatively, you can join a pre-organised cross-country course walk, where a range of experts can explain to you fence-by-fence how each obstacle should be ridden, and can provide fascinating insight.

    Check out the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championship

    The BE90 and BE100 championships will take place on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Badminton week and feature some of the best grassroots horses and riders in the country. You can see their cross-country action around the Badminton parkland on the Wednesday.

    Visit at least one of the 500+ tradestands

    Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? Badminton’s vast shopping village is one of the many highlights of the event each year, attracting a huge collection of many well-known brands. From equestrian fashion and lifestyle brands, there is plenty to choose from. The opening hours of the shopping village are as follows:

    Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 9am–6pm
    Saturday: 8am–7pm
    Sunday: 9am–5pm

    Oh, and don’t forget to have a walk around the food stalls too

    There will be a selection of food-based tradestands for you to wander around, from delicious smoked fish to a range of wines, there is something for everyone.

    Watch potential stars of the future in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse class

    On the Wednesday of the event, the Dubarry Young Event Horse classes will take place on The Slaits, which can be found across the road from the Park Piece car park. This is a wonderful opportunity to see some potential eventing stars of the future in both the four- and five-year-old classes. This acts as a qualifier for the final, which will be held at Burghley in September.

    Watch an Olympic dressage rider in action

    On both Thursday and Friday lunchtimes at approximately 12.30pm, and in honour of Badminton Horse Trials’ 75th anniversary, Lizzie Murray and Catherston Stud’s leading stallion Timolin will perform a dressage display in the main arena with two of his progeny, his first born Catherston Timeless and the promising young stallion, Catherston Tuxedo. Lizzie is a third generation Bullen – the first family of British eventing and is the daughter of Jennie Loriston-Clarke, 1978 World bronze medallist and the doyenne of British Dressage.

    Peruse a range of stallions standing in the UK at the moment

    There will be a stallion display on Friday evening in the main arena following the conclusion of the dressage, where some of the best of British sport horse breeding will be on show.

    Have a go at some dog agility

    Located by the main arena next to the collecting ring, bring your dog to Badminton and have a go at dog agility – just make sure that if you do bring your dog, you don’t leave them in your car at all and that when you are walking around the site, they are on a short lead at all times.

    The Shetland Pony Grand National

    This brilliant spectacle will take place at 10.30am on Saturday in the main arena, prior to the cross-country action getting underway. Make sure you give them all a good cheer!

    Give the Duke of Beaufort Hunt’s hounds a holla

    At 4.30pm on Sunday, moments after the winner has been decided, the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds, whose kennels are within the Badminton Estate, will parade in the main arena. They are sure to be a sight to behold and always worth raising the metaphorical roof for.

    Don’t get caught out by road closures

    If you are planning to travel to Badminton via the M25, please be aware that National Highways has announced the M25 will be shut between junctions 9 (A243 Leatherhead) and 10 (A3 Wisley) from 9pm Friday 10 May to 6am Monday 13 May 2024. A 19-mile diversion route will be in place which uses the A3 and the A240.

    How to watch Badminton Horse Trials

    If you are interested in watching the live action from Badminton Horse Trials from the comfort of your home, wherever you are in the world, you will need to subscribe to Badminton TV. To sign up, visit watch.badminton-horse.tv – click the “Sign Up” link in the top right corner of your screen, then follow the instructions. An annual subscription to Badminton TV costs £19.99 via the website and gives you 365 days of access to all of the content in the Badminton TV library, the ability to watch the action live, and the option to replay all of this year’s action later. Find out more…

    Enjoy the best of Badminton with Horse & Hound

    To ensure you keep up to date with all the breaking news, behind the scenes insight, and the best of the action throughout Badminton Horse Trials with no limits on how much you can read, subscribe to the Horse & Hound website from as little as £1 a week. Sign up now. And don’t miss our bumper 22-page magazine report on Badminton, including in-depth analysis and exclusive comments from top names, in the issue of Horse & Hound dated 16 May.

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