Having lifted the prestigious Mitsubishi Motors title twice, Mary King will always be synonymous with Badminton Horse Trials. This year she is sharing her views on the course exclusively with Horse & Hound readers in today’s magazine (26 April), and in our online videos.
Mary says: “The spectators’ favourite, and they will be able to see more fences than ever before from this area, which adds to the intensity of the atmosphere. There’s a log drop in with a nice profile that encourages riders to be brave and ride forward, then five strides to a brush in the water, followed by a very sharply angled brush after the bank out. It walks on three strides, but will probably ride better on a holding four.
“There were quite a few problems here last year, but the only step out this time is part of the long route and, although there will inevitably be some that slip out of the side of the final brush, it should be a less problematic question.
“Riders need to ensure their horse’s eye is firmly on the c element as they come up the bank; there is a lengthy alternative for those who don’t get a great jump over the brush in the water. It’s a real four-star test, but very jumpable.”
Mary says: “These have a different location and more room between each element this year, but golly, they are massive. The first element is a brush box, followed by two brush corners on four strides on a turning left arc. They should jump beautifully and are more a test of scope and braking power than of pin-point accuracy, but need real respect, especially if the ground comes up soft.”
Read Mary’s thoughts on the rest of the course in this week’s Horse & Hound (issue dated 26 April), plus full form guide for every horse and rider.
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