Photo credit: Kit Houghton
Badminton Horse Trials is one of the toughest and most exciting equestrian events – the pinnacle of the world’s three-day-event calendar.
Horses and riders complete the competition over three days, each day consisting of a different discipline or phase. Horses and riders must complete a dressage test demonstrating obedience, discipline, accuracy and elegance.
They need to be fit and athletic to complete a four mile cross country ride jumping several solid man-made and natural obstacles within a set time.
Finally they must complete a course of show-jumps designed to test their agility and accuracy at speed.
Before commencing the competition each horse is “trotted up” before an inspection panel of a vet and the Ground Jury to ensure the horse is sound and fit enough to compete (the first inspection).
A further inspection takes place the morning after the cross-country phase prior to the Jumping test. This ensures horses are still sound and fit enough to complete the competition (the final inspection).
International three-day-events are graded according to level of difficulty. The higher the grade the more complex and physically demanding each phase becomes.
Stars are awarded to indicate the Event’s Grade. Badminton is a four star event, the highest grade and one of only five such events in the world.
Badminton is the oldest and generally accepted as the most prestigious event. Both riders and horses must qualify by completing other similar grade events in order to compete at Badminton. Qualification can take several years to achieve.
The cross country day at Badminton attracts crowds of up to a quarter of a million, which are the largest for any paid-entry sport event in the United Kingdom.
PONY Magazine sponsors World of the Horse pavilion at at Badminton Horse Trials. Make sure you stop by for a visit!