‘I was trying to focus and felt tears coming down my face’: Badminton first-timer Kylie Roddy and Downton Abbey actor owner reflect on ‘magic’ first phase

  • Kylie Roddy and the Fox Family’s SRS Kan Do made a stellar start to their Badminton Horse Trials, which is presented by Mars Equestrian, debut with a sub-30 dressage to put them in 20th position ahead of the cross-country.

    “My hopes at the beginning of the day was that he could go and put his best hoof forward in the arena and that’s exactly what he did,” says Kylie, in the video interview above.

    “I was really rational, with my competition head on, and I got to the last flying-change and I was trying to focus on the job and I felt these tears coming down my face.

    “I was delighted with how the horse tried so hard for me. For a rider who has trained the horse from a young age, it means the world.”

    She adds: “He is an utter gentleman when you ride him. He is a tricky character in the stable and we have special rules about George. He has his own individual humans, some he likes, some he doesn’t. From a stable point of view he’s complex, from a riding point of view, he’s an absolute legend.”

    Downton Abbey actor Michael Fox, who plays butler Andrew Parker in the hit period drama, competed “George” in the horse’s younger years before Kylie took on the ride.

    The second film in the hit period drama franchise – Downton Abbey: A New Era – premiered in London last week (29 April) and Michael is at Badminton to support Kylie and George before heading to New York to promote the movie.

    “I used to come here and watch as a punter, from when I was about 12. To see Kylie go in and deliver like that is phenomenal. It’s magic,” says Michael in the above video, adding he is “immensely proud of the pair”.

    “I feel like the eventing I did was a whole different sport really! I love the sport, I love riding so for Kylie to be competing against the Fox-Pitts, the Pippa Funnells, the people I grew up idolising… it just feels so special that Roddy is now a part of that bunch.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue.

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