Badminton Horse Trials: New Cross Country Course Revealed

Badminton Horse Trials tickets for 2022 now available

Badminton Horse Trials unveils new-look cross-country course

Gloucestershire-based Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian, this week announced horse and rider combinations competing at this year’s event will be treading new ground on cross-country day!

Course designer, Eric Winter, has utilised an undulating new area of the Park by offering a refreshed track and enhanced viewing for the thousands that gather each year to enjoy the event.

Eric Winter, course designer Badminton Horse Trials
Eric Winter, course designer Mitsubishi Motors Badminton horse trials 2017 Badminton course designer Eric Winter by the Horse quest quarry fence. Numbers 25 & 26 of the 30 fences on the 2017 cross country course

Known for its versatility in course design, the 2023 Badminton Horse Trails cross-country course will run in a clockwise direction, with the Savills Staircase (fence 4abcd) negotiated early in the track.

“When you have such expectations, and large crowds, not to mention the thousands watching around the world, you have to try and provide something new every year,” explains Eric. “The advantage here is being able to run a different competition each time.

“The 2023 track doesn’t have as many big ditches as in 2022, but it will be all about obedience and flexibility as the bold, galloping fences are interspersed with complexes that will require control and adjustability.”

“The 2023 track doesn’t have as many big ditches as in 2022, but it will be all about obedience and flexibility as the bold, galloping fences are interspersed with complexes that will require control and adjustability.”

An example of the course-designer’s philosophy comes with the Joules Coronation Corral (6ab), two upright white gates six or seven strides apart, which is followed by “a thumping great old-fashioned bullfinch” (Air Ambulances UK Bullfinch, 7).

The course then veers left off the Avenue onto new ground, where the Lightsource bp Hollow (8abc) is sited, before climbing up to the familiar pond at the Mars Sustainability Bay (10ab). There is a new Holland Cooper Owl Hole (12ab) followed by the trickily angled KBIS Brush Boxes (13abcd) on this traditionally intense section.

The famous Badminton Horse Trials Lake (21abc and 22) has a new look: a big brush corner followed by a 90-degree turn to upright rails into the water and five or six strides to another brush corner sited in the water.

Safety is, as ever, paramount, and there will be increased use of MIM-clip technology on this year’s course, including on the two open corners in the Voltaire Design Huntsman’s Close (25ab). By this stage competitors will have the finish in their sights; the crowds waiting and watching in the arena will cheer them home over the Coronation Finale (30).

This is a track that will, quite rightly, test the strength of the partnership between horse and rider,”

says former competitor Tina Cook who, as a member of the commentary team, has had a first sight of the course.

It’s got an old-style flavour with some big, bold, attacking fences but it will be all about trainability.”

The cross-country day will only be shown live on Badmintontv, powered by Brightcove here. Full details are available on the website and subscribers will be able to enjoy the preview and archive material and 2023 footage.  

Timetable for 2023

Due to King Charles III Coronation on Saturday 6th May at Westminster Abbey in London, this year’s Badminton Horse Trials will look slightly different in terms of the days in which each discipline will take place. Dressage will commence on Friday, instead of Thursday, pushing the entire competition a day ahead, with Monday concluding the 2023 event. For more details view the timetable below.

Wednesday 3rd MayVoltaire Design Grassroots Championships – (Dressage)
Thursday 4th MayVoltaire Design Grassroots Championships – Dressage, 
Cross Country & Show Jumping
Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Class  
International Event – Horse Inspection; Tradestands open
Friday 5th MayInternational Event – Dressage
Saturday 6th MayInternational Event – Dressage
Sunday 7th MayInternational Event – Cross Country
Monday 8th MayInternational Event – Show Jumping

There will be no tickets available on the gate – all tickets must be bought in advance.  

Feature image: Badminton Horse Trials – Zara Tindall (nee Philips) competing

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