The pair were eighth on the wait-list, but following withdrawals by those already accepted into the event (2-6 May), Ben and ‘Mr Mulry’, will now be able to compete.
“We’re absolutely buzzing to go — he’s feeling really good,” Ben told H&H.
Mr Mulry was last seen competing at Bramham in 2017 and was then selected to represent Great Britain in the Nations Cup team at The Plains in the USA, but a minor injury prior to the event ruled them out.
“Sallie and I agreed after that, that we would do as much as Mulry wanted to,” explained Ben. “I hunted him with the Morpeth, Tynedale and Duke of Buccleuch hunts over the winter for a bit of fun, and we even popped a couple of metal five-bar gates.
“He then felt so good that I said ‘sack it, let’s enter Badminton and see where we get to’ — if we didn’t get in, then it wasn’t meant to be. Then as time went by I thought ‘Jesus, this might actually happen!’
“I said to Sallie that we’ll just go to enjoy ourselves — he’s our baby and we want to look after him. We’re realistic in our goal — he’s designed to pull a cart, but he loves the atmosphere and people watching him at Badminton. It’s full steam ahead.”
The 16-year-old gelding famously did not make it to Badminton from the wait-list last year, but he and Ben already have two Badminton completions under their belts, most recently in 2016 when they jumped double clear. This was a particularly emotional occasion, as Ben had fought back from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed with in June 2015. H&H readers voted Ben’s double clear moment of the year at the first Horse & Hound Awards in November 2016.
Ben’s announcement to his 66,1000 Instagram followers that he and the Clydesdale x thoroughbred had got into Badminton has generated more than 10,000 likes. It is worth noting that the picture below was taken by Sallie in December 2016.
Now just four of the 14 combinations originally on the wait-list remain, William Fox-Pitt and Fernhill Pimms among them.
Badminton accepts horses with the most FEI points won in the past two years and then wait-lists the rest in points order. Wait-listed horses replace those withdrawn until 2pm on the Sunday before the event. Badminton has never accepted fewer than 14 horses from the wait-list, so it is highly likely William will be able to compete.
Don’t miss our bumper Badminton preview issue of Horse & Hound magazine including Mary King’s thoughts on every fence on the cross-country course (on sale 26 April 2018), our pull-out form guide featuring all the riders (on sale 10 May 2018) and our special in-depth report on all the action, complete with expert analysis (on sale 11 May 2017).