Better wi-fi, more camping and a new home for riders are among the promises for Badminton Horse Trials 2023 – and all tickets must again be booked in advance.
Event director Jane Tuckwell and commercial director Andrew Tucker spoke on the first episode of the Inside Badminton 2023 podcast, hosted by the Equiratings Eventing Podcast, reflecting on the 2022 event and looking forward to this year’s.
Both said how delighted they were to see everyone back on site for the first time since 2019 owing to the Covid pandemic, Mrs Tuckwell adding that it was “like the park was smiling”.
Asked what had been taken from last year to act on, Mr Tucker said: “Wi-fi!” He explained that the team knew this was a big area to improve, and has appointed a new wi-fi contractor, which has been “really impressive in its planning so far”.
The hope is for much better phone signal this year; Mrs Tuckwell apologised for the “failure of the mobile phone system” in 2022, which “wasn’t for want of trying”. She said Vodafone has been in touch, after previous communication, and is “talking about retaining two masts”, that she is talking to, and confident in, O2, and that EE signal was good in 2022.
The Badminton TV platform will change this year, to what Mr Tucker described as a more bespoke one; existing subscribers were due to be emailed this month about the switch, although “nothing will change” other than the need to create a new password, and subscriptions for this year will open in March.
The team has been dealing with rising costs, trying its best not to have to pass on to much of an increase to spectators and trade stands, and the ticket office opens this month.
In terms of the day change caused by King Charles’s coronation, which falls on the Saturday, Mrs Tuckwell said, as was previously confirmed, that everything will run a day later than usual, with dressage on Friday and starting early on Saturday to allow a break for the event, which will be shown on big screens. Cross-country will run on Sunday and showjumping on the Monday, which is a bank holiday.
Mrs Tuckwell said she hoped those who do want to watch the coronation will be able to, and those who just want to watch the action will also be happy.
“It will be a great weekend and I think [the coronation] will add an ingredient,” she said.
There will be some course changes, including riders’ “going on to ground they’ve never been on before”, which will be undulating.
“So those who come to Badminton because it’s flat might want to start doing a bit of hill work!” Mrs Tuckwell said.
Advance ticket sales will remain the only way to get admission; Mr Tucker said this had a huge positive impact on traffic management last year, benefiting all concerned.
Mrs Tuckwell said the campsite has been increased in size; it sold out “very early doors” last year, and she hopes the extra space will mean more people will be able to stay on site. A new field has been earmarked for riders and owners to stay in, with more space.
“We’re going to put owners and riders all together in a new venue in a large field,” she said. “So hopefully everyone will be able to park where they wish, and I hope they all enjoy it.”
She added: “We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back who’s part of our family. Roll on May!”
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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