Pictures by Peter Nixon

The first horse inspection… the start of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and nerves are racing. No one wants their competition to end here — and it has happened in the past, sometimes even to those who think their horses are perfectly sound.

But away from the high drama, the trot-up is also a catwalk, a chance for riders to show their flair for fashion.

Which of these looks are weird and which are wonderful? You decide…

Louise Harwood (Whitson and Mr Potts, pictured): turquoise was a popular colour among female competitors this year, as shown here in the ties of Louise’s jacket. White jeans were also a frequent sight.

Louise Harwood Mr Potts Badminton 2016

Dani Evans (Raphael II and Smart Time, pictured): the 24-year-old sported a classy monochrome look, with a black and white jacket over a black dress.

Dani Evans Smart Time Badminton 2016

Megan Heath (St Daniel): the New Zealand rider paired her culottes with a spangly top.

Megan Heath St Daniel Badminton 2016

Kirsty Johnston (Opposition Detective): this one got my stylish mother-in-law’s vote for the best look — a white and blue dress, with black boots, set off by Kirsty’s curly hair.

Kirsty Johnston Opposition Detective Badminton 2016

Ben Way (Galley Light): the amateur rider took our “judges’ choice award” — admittedly the panel were all female… his classic outfit combined a tweed jacket with loafers.

Ben Way Galley Light Badminton 2016

Andreas Ostholt (So Is Et): a close runner-up for the “judges’ choice award” — you can’t beat a man in uniform…

Andreas Ostholt So Is Et Badminton 2016

Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation): although the gentlemen of my acquaintance tell me blue suits and brown shoes are “uber-naff”, there were a fair few examples of this on display and I thought they looked rather smart. Also, we have questions about Clarke’s scarf and the name Balmoral — is there a Scottish connection?

Clark Johnstone Balmoral Sensation Badminton 2016

Ben Hobday (Mulrys Error): the popular rider showed off a look involving shades and a tweed jacket and waistcoat — and received the biggest cheer of the day.

Ben Hobday Mulrys Error Badminton 2016

Tina Cook (Star Witness): Tina let her jewellery do the talking today, with a matching necklace and earrings.

Tina Cook Star Witness Badminton 2016

Alex Hua Tian (Harbour Pilot C): the Chinese rider looked particularly striking in a bow tie, patent shoes and a jacket with a chevron pattern.

Alex Hua Tian Harbour Pilot C Badminton 2016

Zara Tindall (High Kingdom): another in white jeans, Zara also wore a loose black and white jacket.

Zara Tindall High Kingdom Badminton 2016

Emily King (Brookleigh): the youngest rider here, Emily showed off her slim figure in a tight-fitting orange dress.

Emily King Brookleigh Badminton 2016

Bettina Hoy (Designer 10): the German’s look was my personal favourite — the statement piece being a short navy jacket with white piping.

Bettina Hoy Designer 10 Badminton 2016

Paul Tapner (Vanir Kamira): known for his dashing outfits, Paul wore his trademark red this time in his bow tie and socks, plus he wore a jacket on which the trimming matched his trousers.

Paul Tapner Vanir Kamira Badminton 2016

Lucy Jackson (Bosun): we overheard someone say, “Is that Robin Hood from Sherwood Forest?” as Lucy took to the strip — her feathered hat was certainly the most outlandish fashion item on display.

Lucy Jackson Bosun Badminton 2016

Dee Hankey (Chequers Playboy): known for her high heels, former popstar Dee kept the footwear pretty conservative this year. She was one of several ladies to wear fur, in her case on the collar and cuffs.

Dee Kennedy Chequers Playboy Badminton 2016

Follow all our Badminton online coverage and make sure you buy next week’s magazine (12 May) for a full 24-page report.