Defending champion heads up Badminton entries – plus what’s unusual this time

  • Laura Collett and London 52 head up the Badminton Horse Trials entries, for the 4–8 May event presented by Mars Equestrian.

    The defending champions – Laura and her own, Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott’s 14-year-old – head up an entry list that includes three other riders who have won before, the world number one and numerous other top names.

    The other former winners heading to the British spring five-star are Britain’s William Fox-Pitt, who brings forward Amanda Gould’s Grafennacht for her first tilt at the level, Pippa Funnell (Marek Sebestak and the rider’s Majas Hope and the Walkinshaws’ Billy Walk On) and Oliver Townend.

    Oliver has five entries – Karen Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan’s Olympic team gold medallist Ballaghmor Class, the Ridgeons’ Swallow Springs, Paul Ridgeon’s Cooley Rosalent, John Peace’s As Is and The Hazeldines & Mitchell Fox Group’s Tregilder – and will choose which he rides nearer the time because competitors are limited to two horses each.

    New Zealand’s world number one Tim Price is entered with the Giannamores’ and his own Vitali, who was third at Burghley 2022, and Jean-Louis Stauffer’s Coup De Coeur Dudevin, who won the Maryland five-star last October.

    Other top names in the line-up include European individual bronze medallists Sarah Bullimore and Corouet (owned by Sarah, her husband Brett and the Kew Jumping Syndicate), last year’s Badminton runners-up Ros Canter and Michele Saul’s Lordship Graffalo, European team gold medallists Kitty King and Vendredi Biats (owned by Diana Bown, Sally Lloyd Baker, Samantha Wilson and the late Sally Eyre) and Olympic team gold and individual silver medallists Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser (owned by the Barkers, Jane Inns and Tom’s mother Ali).

    Tom Jackson will also start on last year’s Burghley runner-up Capels Hollow Drift, owned by Patricia Davenport, Milly Simmie and Sarah Webb.

    “We are delighted that so many top international riders want to come to Badminton this year,” said event director Jane Tuckwell. “We’ve got a great mix of well-known and new faces which should make for a thrilling competition and, with the added interest of the coronation that weekend, someone will be making history.”

    Badminton has changed dates to fit in with the coronation, so the dressage takes place on Friday and Saturday – with a break in the action so people can watch the coronation – the cross-country on Sunday and the showjumping on Monday.

    Badminton Horse Trials entries: no waiting list

    Unusually, the reveal of the Badminton Horse Trials entries comes without an accompanying wait list this year. A maximum of 85 entries are accepted, with other entries wait-listed in order of FEI points. These horses replace withdrawals up to the Monday before the event. However, with 83 entries, there is no need for a wait list for the 2023 event.

    The reduction in entries is likely to be at least partly due to a tightening of athlete categorisations (a way of banding riders based on results and experience), which have a bearing on how many minimum eligibility results a rider has to achieve as a combination with their horse to compete at each level. The timeframe for results counting towards categorisation has been halved from a rolling eight years to a rolling four years, and the number of competitions on which a categorisation is given has been reduced by around 30%.

    Horses who have not competed in an FEI event for 13 months – likely to be those who have been off injured – also now have to complete a four-star before returning to five-star.

    How to watch Badminton Horse Trials

    If you are interested in watching Badminton Horse Trials live from the comfort of your home, wherever you are in the world, then you will need to subscribe to Badminton TV. To sign up, visit watch.badminton-horse.tv – click the “Sign Up” link in the top right corner of your screen, then follow the instructions. An annual subscription to Badminton TV costs £19.99 and gives you 365 days of access to all of the content in the Badminton TV library, the ability to watch the action live, and the option to replay all of this year’s action later.

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