Mary King, winner of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in 2000 and 1992, walked the course for this year’s event (2-6 May 2018) for Horse & Hound.
Check out these pictures of Mary with the iconic fences…
Mary with course-designer Eric Winter at the HorseQuest Hump (fence three). This is a completely new fence, on a newly raised piece of ground, which should jump well but gives horses a little something to think about before the first combination on course.
Mary checks out the HorseQuest Quarry (fence 4ab). The walls here are very familiar from previous years and it’s a fairly straightforward test, dropping in over one wall, a left turn at the bottom and up a hill to the second wall.
The first water fence, the Wadworths Water (fence eight). This will give a great photo opportunity as Badminton House is in the background when viewed from the other side and it will let horses wet their feet before The Lake.
Designer Eric Winter lines up Mary for the second and third elements of The Lake (fence 9abc), consisting of a brush fence in the water and then a run up a bank on a right-hand curve to another brush, which is angled and sculpted in a way which encourages a run-out. Watch a video of Maryy walking The Lake.
Mary at the final element of the straight route out of The Lake, showing the line riders need to take — and just how inviting it is for horses to nip out on the left-hand side.
Mary lines up the corner which forms the final part of the straight route through the Outlander PHEV Mound (fence 14, 15 and 16ab). On the direct route, the combination starts with another open corner, before a run down into a dip and up onto the mound, where the b element upright rails are sited, before this final corner.
Eric Winter and Mary King look into the Eclipse Cross Pond (fence 18abc). Here riders on the direct route will jump an upright birch rail, five strides through the water and out over a parallel.
Mary at the oxer out of the Eclipse Cross Pond (fence 18abc). Note the red MIM Clips on the end of the birch rails — this is a safety device designed to give way under a certain level of pressure and prevent a serious fall of horse and rider.
The Hildon Water Pond (fence 20abc). Riders taking the fastest option will jump this log pile, then down the steep bank to the water cascade, left-handed through the water and out over the brush (seen in the background).
Mary King walks the right-hand curve through the water at the Hildon Water Pond (fence 19abc).
The chunky hedge on the exit from the Hildon Water Pond (fence 20abc).
Mary tests out the ditch at the KBIS Vicarage Vee (fence 22/23). Riders take off from the bank on the far right, landing on the bank on the left in the picture. This iconic fence is supposedly slightly softer this year, but is still likely to catch a few pairs out.
A great photo opportunity in front of the house at the Joules Corners (fence 26abc), where riders tackle a big brush parallel before the two corners. Watch a video of Mary walking the Joules Corners.
Checking out the angles at the Savills Escalator (fence 29abc), the final combination on the track. Horses will be tired by this point so riders may need to work hard to get the necessary control to jump the big brush in followed by two angled skinny fences.
What did Mary think of this mount? The last fence, the Shogun Sport Saddle (fence 32).
Pictures by Peter Nixon
Read Mary’s thoughts on every fence on the course in this week’s Horse & Hound (issue dated 26 April 2018), plus the full form guide for every horse and rider
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