Monday, 3 May 2010

Badders 2010

It's a long way and the weather forecast wasn't good, but we trekked off to Badminton Horse Trials on Sunday. It meant an early start - 5am - but we arrived at at 8.40am and missed the queues.

Rosie, me and Hannah outside Badminton House. Note how I have matched my coat to the colour of my nose. It was raining, it was cold, it was muddy, it was great! I'm wearing every item of clothing I possess here - as are the girls - five layers in all and a big scarf.

Shopping started the day and brought with it the chance to meet Pippa Funnell who was busy proving that not only is she a great rider, she's also a good writer. She's written some terrific books for girls packed full of pony fun and horsey tips.

The first horse we saw was Mary King's Imperial Cavalier which scorched past us into the lead in the downpour as we approached the fences in the Huntsman's Close. This (above) is the next competitor, New Zealand's Joe Meyer, riding  Clifton Lush, making a tricky fence look easy.

Britain's Nicola Malcolm on the grey McFly tackling the Alterian Staircase...

... all the way to the top. The pair had a great round, but were withdrawn at the final horse inspection on Monday.

Another competitor powers up the Alterian Staircase.

Ireland's Mark Kyle threads Step In Time through the Owl Hole.

Rosie warming up with a hot chocolate.

Comparing our muddy boots while waiting for...

... Mark Todd, who has made a Take That style comeback at the age of 54. He was as brilliant as ever, although it makes me feel old as I was there 30 years ago when he won his first Badminton on Southern Comfort. The double Olympic gold medallist has won Badminton on three previous occasions, but it's 10 years since he last competed.

The Quarry proved no problem for the veteran, this year riding Grass Valley into 18th place.

Phoebe Butler and Little Tiger pop neatly into the Huntsman's Close. Little Tiger, who has already had two foals, is aptly named - at 15hh she is the smallest horse in the competition. The pair finished 46th.

A competitor about to splash into the Colt Pond.

Alex Hue Tian, of China, making light work of the Countryside Complex on Magenta (known as Maggie). The pair finished in 26th place on their first attempt at Badminton.

And this one? This is me, taken about 200 years ago before the two nasty falls that ended my brief and lowly eventing career. This is somewhere in Herefordshire and I'm riding Jocasta my 15hh grey mare (just like Little Tiger, above) into 5th place at this particular Pony Club one day event, which was my best result. Jocasta - known as JoJo, died a few years ago at the grand old age of 29.

Would I do it again? Like a shot - I just need a new horse... Okay and a new back too. But I'm still younger than Mary King (48) and Mark Todd (54)!


  1. Makes me wish I was horsey, it sounds great fun but although I can ride I never have owned a horse nor ever did anything remotely like eventing! I am most impressed at your knowledge and skill!

  2. Glad that you had a great day - I enjoyed your photos and watched bits of the x-country today (have recorded it all to enjoy later). Normally I'm there, with my friend Jude, but couldn't make it this year due to working on house and No Money!

    Just turned tv on to watch the showjumping and it's blardy snooker instead!!! Screams of anguish . . .

  3. Really enjoyed this account of your day at Badminton and the pics are fabulous. I do wish I had learnt to ride properly, but too old and decrepit now!!

  4. Pictures were incredible, hope you didn't freeze. We kept horses when our daughter was a teenager and horse mad. Think I enjoyed taking care of them more than riding.

  5. Oh, thank you so much for introducing me to eventing ... I really know nothing about horses, even though I grew up in Virginia where lots of horses live and prosper.

    Your writing and photos are so good! It was wonderful to see all the excitement of the various ... gosh, what do you call them? Challenges? I particularly liked the owl hole.

    Also great to learn about your riding experience. Well done! Perhaps your girls are also riders?


  6. Looks like a good day out - I'm very impressed with your picutres.

    It all looks very scarey to a non-horsey person like me - although I did enjoy going to Sapey with my neighbour the other week where she was eventing. Mark Todd was there as well - apparently trying out or giving an inexperienced horse some practise.

  7. What a lovely blog, and nice piece on Badminton Horse Trials

  8. You should have called by - we're about six miles away when in Wilts. Truth is though, I'm really scared of horses.


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.