Fence 18b, the middle element of the Swindon Designer Outlet Mound, (pictured above centre) has been removed from the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials course ahead of tomorrow’s cross-country.
The narrow log was the topic of debate during the riders’ meeting on Thursday, although course-designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa said at lunchtime on Thursday no riders had asked for any changes to be made.
In an official statement released earlier today, the organisers said the fence “which required a turn on a steep slope” had been removed “due to the conditions”.
Leader after dressage Clark Montgomery approved of the change.
“I think Loughan Glen is going to like the course. It will need positive bold riding. The b element of fence 18 didn’t really fit with the rest of the course and it will flow much better without it.”
Second-placed Paul Tapner agreed: “I agree 100% with Clark about that element. It didn’t fit with the flow of the course. It was a starkly different test to the rest. I think the course is better for it not being there.”
However Mark Todd felt the decision to remove the fence may have been made prematurely. “I’m a bit disappointed about fence 18 [being removed],” he said. “Maybe they made the decison too early. Maybe they should have waited to see if it did rain.”
Following a mainly dry day today with a strong wind, the forecast is for heavy rain overnight followed by showers on Saturday morning with more persistent rain in the afternoon.
Cross-country gets underway at 12noon. Francis Whittington, currently 3rd with Easy Target and 14th out on course tomorrow, said he was “very pleased to be early on”. But Paul Tapner felt the conditions would suit his horse, saying: ” I wouldn’t be unhappy if it got wetter.”