Hurray for Piggy! But Why Will Badminton Horse Trials 2019 Be One to Remember?


Hurray for Piggy! But Why Will Badminton Horse Trials 2019 Be One to Remember?


On Sunday 5th May 2019, Piggy French (GBR) riding Vanir Kamira lifted the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials trophy to finish what is a memorable year for the Gloucestershire based CCI5* event.

Despite a close battle between the Northamptonshire based rider and Kentucky back to back winner Oliver Townend (GBR), an emotional French cried and cheered in happiness, with fans in the main arena roaring with excitement over her victory, which was also her first win at this level.

Piggy French (GBR) on Vanir Kamira. Image credit Mike Bain
Piggy French (GBR) on Vanir Kamira. Image credit Mike Bain

I actually can’t believe it, I won’t believe it for a while … my whole state of mind. Today I woke up thinking maybe I could but soon as I walked the course I thought not a chance, time was tight there were so many related distances, so many lines that really wouldn’t be her [Vanir Kamira] sought of track”

spoke French of her win.

Oliver’s is a great Jumper, I turned away by the last but then the clock went red and I was like oh!!” she continued.

French’s first ride at Badminton Horse Trials was in 2003, since then her highest placed accomplishment at this event was second in 2011, riding Jakata.


But why should this year be remembered? 

There’s a host of reasons why this year’s Badminton Horse Trials should be remembered, and here’s why;

  • Piggy French lifting the trophy for Great Britain marked the 100th win for our country at this level of event.
  • 2019 marks the official 70th anniversary year for the now CCI5* event
  • 2019 saw in the end of sponsorship from Mitsubishi Motors, after 28 consecutive years. Questions surrounding who the next sponsor will be are emerging, however, to date nothing has been announced
  • Oliver Townend set a new record for completing the best dressage score of 19.7 riding Cillnabradden Evo.
  • 2019 witnessed the most riders complete the Eric Winter’s Cross Country Course in under the time allowed, totaling only five! A total of 235 competitors, since 2017 have tackled each year’s course, only 7 ever making it inside the time.
  • 2019 welcomed the second consecutive win from a female rider, with Jonelle Price and Classic Moet riding home victorious in 2018
  • The weekend welcomed in record-breaking crowds, official figures are yet to be announced

Townend enjoyed two top 10 placings, his first ride Ballaghmor Class finishing second, with time faults costing the pair the trophy. His second ride, Cillnabradden Evo, he finished in sixth on.

Oliver Townend (GBR) on Ballaghmor Class. Image credit Mike Bain
Oliver Townend (GBR) on Ballaghmor Class. Image credit Mike Bain

On reflection, Townend said,

The two horses were amazing all week, they are exceptional horses, the black horse [Cillnabradden Evo] especially…the grey horse [Ballaghmor Class] is a superstar”.

Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t and this one by 1/4 second this didn’t” he continued.

Australia’s Christopher Burton, the first to ride within the time allowed during this year’s cross country test finished in a respectable third and fourth place with Cooley Lands and Graf Liberty, respectively.

Christopher Burton (AUS) on Graf Liberty. Image credit Mike Bain
Christopher Burton (AUS) on Graf Liberty. Image credit Mike Bain

I’m delighted, I’ve had a wonderful week really, and I’m very proud of the two horses and very grateful to the owners for the ride of the horses” spoke Burton.

I haven’t had a very good run at Badminton, it’s been a bit of a bogey man to me.I’m stoked they went this well” he continued.

Fellow AUS rider, Andrew Nicholson and Swallow Springs finished in place.

Rounding up the remainder of the top ten were: Kristina Cook and Billy the Red, Imogen Murray and Ivar Gooden, William Fox-Pitt and Little Fire, and in tenth place was Tim Price on Ringwood Sky Boy.

Event Director Hugh Thomas spoke of his thoughts following the event

I am genuinely unbiased as to who should win Badminton, as an Event Director you should put this out of your mind, but we haven’t had many British winners for a while, now we’ve got first and second”.

Thanks once again to Mike Bain Photography for supporting Everything Horse for the sixth consecutive year.



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