‘It’s going to get deep out there’: early riders give their verdict on Badminton showjumping course

  • After more rain, early indications are that the Badminton Horse Trials showjumping is likely to be influential, at the event presented by Mars Equestrian. There was just one clear round, and plenty of time-faults over Kelvin Bywater’s track from the first 10 riders. Last time Badminton was wet, in 2014, there were no fault-free rounds on the final day, a portent of how the day may play out.

    Dan Jocelyn was the pathfinder aboard the first of his two horses, Blackthorn Cruise, to kick off the showjumping phase. He was clear until the penultimate fence, the second element of the double, so finished with four faults and a fraction of a time-fault. Dan’s second horse, Cooley One Two Many, had three down and 0.8 of a time-fault.

    “Blackthorn Cruise, what a jumper!” said Dan. “I know everyone is having rails but I was quite disappointed I had one down because this is where he shines. I felt it was a missed opportunity. But conditions are tough, the warm-up was tough, so it was nice to finish that way.

    “For Cooley One Two Many, three down feels like a clear round,” Dan added. “He tries his heart out, but he lacks a bit in this phase. He’s had a great week, we’re thrilled to bits. And I have two horses completed before lunch!”

    Katherine Coleman recorded the first jumping clear of the day, just adding 0.4 of a time-fault on Monbeg Senna.

    “I knew he had it in him, he’s such a super jumper that I just didn’t want to let him down – what a horse!” Katherine said. “It’s really big – with the double of water trays, it’s a proper Badminton showjumping track. I feel for the horses that go later, it’s definitely going to get a bit deep out there. It’s his first five-star and I just wanted to complete on the cross-country yesterday but I still had a lot of horse left, which is good to know.”

    Badminton Horse Trials showjumping time is achievable

    The warm-up was boggy, and while the horses are jumping on mostly fresh ground in the arena, it’s clearly on the tacky side. However, US rider Lillian Heard Wood and 17-year-old LCC Barnaby proved the time is achievable, just adding four penalties for one fence down. They move up three places to 21st at this stage.

    “I just had the plank down, and I had one down at Burghley before so I had a feeling about it, and I think I over-corrected,” Lillian said. “I’m so happy. It was muddy, and he was exhausted yesterday. I thought the course was tough and you have to keep your wits about you.

    “He might be an older horse, but he does not feel like he’s done at all. He’s always been sound. But it’s up to him whether he does another five-star, he’s given me everything. He was always scopey but he’s been a bit of a nightmare his whole life, though now he’s wonderful. It makes me realise that you don’t always want a simple horse – if they’re a bit wild, that’s a good sign!”

    Caroline Powell completed with her 10-year-old mare Greenacres Special Cavalier, who knocked two down.

    “She’s feeling a bit tight, but she’s young and will come on for this,” said Caroline. “She did a great job – she obviously enjoys it, she just got a bit keen, but she’s had a good educational week. Going second was brilliant – I think the ground will get tacky during the day, and it will be a good jumping test, so I wish them luck!”

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