Horse & Hound’s essential guide to Badminton Horse Trials showjumping

  • The Badminton Horse Trials showjumping is the last of three phases that horses and riders take part in during this annual competition, which happens on the Badminton estate in Gloucestershire. The 2022 event, presented by Mars Equestrian, takes place from Wednesday 4 May to Sunday 8 May.

    When does the Badminton Horse Trials showjumping take place?

    The showjumping takes place on the final day of the event, which is usually Sunday. In 2022, it will be Sunday 8 May.

    Occasionally the event has finished on Monday instead of Sunday (to tie in with a bank holiday Monday) and on those occasions, the showjumping has taken place on Monday.

    What happens during the Badminton showjumping?

    Each horse and rider enter the arena individually and tackle a course of 11 to 13 showjumps. The course will probably include a double (two fences close together, numbered as one fence with elements a and b) and a treble (three fences close together, numbered as one fence with elements a, b and c). The aim is to jump all the fences without knocking any down or the horse refusing, within a set time.

    How big are the jumps?

    Badminton is a CCI5*, the top-level of horse trials in the world. The showjumps will be 1.30m high, with a maximum spread of 1.45m (or 1.65m for the triple bar, a fence where there are three top rails in a gradually ascent).

    Who sets the course for the Badminton Horse Trials showjumping?

    The course will be set by an experienced showjumping course-designer, who is accredited through the FEI (the international federation for horse sport). In 2022, the Badminton Horse Trials showjumping course-designer is Kelvin Bywater.

    What order do the riders jump in?

    The riders jump in reverse order of merit according to the placings before showjumping. So the riders who is lying last after the first two phases (Badminton Horse Trials dressage and cross-country) will jump first and the rider who is leading the competition will jump last. This makes the event exciting for competitors and spectators as no one knows who the winner is until the final horse has jumped.

    The exception to this is if a rider has two horses lying close together in the placings. In that case, the rider’s lower placed horse will jump earlier, out of order, and their top-placed horse will jump in their correct place in the standings.

    How is the Badminton Horse Trials showjumping scored?

    Eventing penalties work on the basis of lowest score wins. A horse will receive four penalties for each showjump it knocks down or for a refusal. The second refusal or a fall of horse or rider leads to elimination.

    The horse also receives 0.4 of a penalty for each commenced second over the time allowed.

    The penalties from the showjumping are added to the competitors’ penalties in the other phases to determine the final scores. The rider and horse with the fewest penalties win.

    Does speed matter?

    There are no bonuses for being the fastest pair in the showjumping but a horse who exceeds the time allowed will receive 0.4 of a penalty for each commenced second over that time allowed. The time allowed is worked out on the basis of horses travelling at 375m per minute.

    Can I watch the showjumping at Badminton?

    You can buy a ticket to visit Badminton in-person and watch the showjumping. Or you can purchase a pass to watch the live streaming of the event.

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