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A ‘scopeless yak’, a horse ‘built like a wheelbarrow’ and ‘time-faults in the dressage’ — 17 brilliant quotes from Badminton 2019

The sunshine this week feels like a slap in the face — how lovely it would be to be frolicking across the Badminton estate, watching dressage, catching up with mates, doing a touch of shopping, walking the course.

With this year’s Badminton cancelled due to Covid-19, we take a look back at the story of last year’s event, in the riders’ own words…

“Nobody has a clue what you go through to be competitive at this level, to get your nose in front. You get used to saying well done to everyone else, going home, working away and thinking about living the dream another day” — Piggy French on her first win at five-star

“It’s little horses like this that make it for us. She’s a pain in the arse 352 days a year – she’s really tricky to manage and not the nicest to ride, though I say that so fondly. I love her to bits. She’s a true top-level horse and comes into her own at Badminton and Burghley. Most of the time, she’s pretty ordinary. If I built that showjumping course at home I could jump it 50 times and not jump clear” — Piggy on her winning ride, Trevor Dickens’ Vanir Kamira (pictured)

“He’s an insecure, sharp little horse. Balou Du Rouet offspring are known for being sharp, but that makes him extra-special when coming to a fence. That’s what I looked for when Elisabeth Murdoch said to find her another Olympic horse” – Tina Cook on Billy The Red, seventh

“I’m so lucky to be here at all and particularly to be here with two nice horses. I’ve had help to get back; I was quite slow and dozy, but now my enthusiasm and hunger to win is coming back. I have wondered why I’m eventing, what for and who for – it’s probably quite a selfish journey” – William Fox-Pitt on his two top-15 places with Little Fire and Oratorio, his first Badminton completions since his win in 2015 and his serious head injury that autumn

“I’ve never had luck here and have had some silly things happening. I always tell myself it’s not that important and it’s just another event, but there’s no doubt it’s the best event in the world and I’m stoked with the way my horses have performed” – Chris Burton after third and fifth with Cooley Lands and Graf Liberty

“I do torture myself quite a lot – last night I lay in bed and rode that test again and again and again” – Oliver Townend after setting his record-breaking leading dressage score of 19.7 on Cillnabradden Evo

“He tries hard, but is built like a wheelbarrow” – Laura Collett on Mr Bass, who was eighth after the first phase

“After we came back from the Sunshine Tour, the vets believed Waldo had West Nile virus, so three weeks ago I was told he was going to die. I lived in his stable 24/7 for 10 days” – Emma Hyslop-Webb, a first-timer who completed on Waldo III and Pennlands Douglas

“My easiest Badminton memory is stuffing myself in the members’ enclosure when Dad was vetting here and throwing up on the way home” – debutant Nick Lucey, who completed on Proud Courage

“There’s no worse feeling than Friday night and Saturday morning at Badminton, but no better one than crossing the line when a horse has tried his best for you” – cross-country pathfinder Pippa Funnell after a great round on Majas Hope

“As he grows up, he’d like more questions. He never says, ‘What?’ He always knows the answer” – William Fox-Pitt on Little Fire’s cross-country

“Vanir Kamira does her intermediates like a scopeless yak, but she becomes another horse at Badminton and Burghley – she shows off and says, ‘Come on Mum. what are you worried about?’” – more quote-a-minute comments from winner Piggy French

“She told me to stop patting her and use her for what she is, a great cross-country horse” – advice on the way to the start for Virginia Richardson, from compatriot Jonelle Price. She delivered with a clear in the time

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“I’d been enjoying myself too much and was way down on the clock coming to The Lake, but I pressed go, and even with the great Armada, I’ve never had a feeling like it. He opened his stride and went faster than I’ve ever finished a five-star in my life” – Oliver Townend on a fantastic ride with runner-up Ballaghmor Class

“It’s not always pretty, but he jumps the fences and you’ve got to go with the flow sometimes. It doesn’t matter where he puts his head, it’s up to him if he wants to look at the jump” – William Fox-Pitt on his round with Oratorio

“He’s a legend and I adore him. He’s so genuine and so desperately wants to do what you ask” – Nicky Hill on MGH Bingo Boy. She took the best British first-timer prize in 18th

“I was very aware of the time – I could get time-faults in a dressage test” – Tina Cook on her fault-free showjumping round with Billy The Red

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