A dream come true for Laura Collett at Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian
British event rider Laura Collett realised a childhood dream on Sunday 8th May as she won the 2022 Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian. Following a superb performance Collett’s finishing score of 21.4, where she added a mere 0.4 of a showjumping time penalty to her dressage mark, is a record completion for the Gloucestershire based event.
It was the first British one-two-three since Pippa Funnell led William Fox-Pitt and Leslie Law 20 years ago in 2002, and Collett revealed that Funnell’s win on Supreme Rock had been her childhood inspiration.
I was going around the cross-country on my aunt’s shoulders and I wanted to be Pippa Funnell winning Badminton,’
When Collett entered the arena on Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott’s London 52, she had the luxury of a fence in hand over Ros Canter, but the pressure was understandably huge.
That horse is amazing,”
she said of her Tokyo Olympic gold medallist.
He jumped his socks off. I couldn’t see a distance anywhere but he just got higher and higher.”
And Canter was full of praise for her new superstar after finishing in second, who was contesting his first five-star competition,
Walter’s [Lordships Graffalo] eyes were on stalks when we arrived but he enjoyed every part of it – especially the prize giving. He will have learnt so much in the last few days.”
Piggy March and the gallant 17-year-old mare Vanir Kamira, the 2019 Badminton winners who set the early standard on the cross-country, finished an honourable fourth with just one pole down behind Oliver Townend in 3rd on Swallow Springs.
I think that’s the best Tilly [Vanir Kamira] has ever jumped. She left her heart out on the cross country course yesterday so I was a bit worried today, but shouldn’t have been,’
Eric Winter’s demanding, yet expertly designed, cross-country course proved problematic for even the most experienced and talented combination, with 58 riders completing out of 80 who started. The five-star track was well received by the riders, with Winter left feeling he’d of preferred less in the way of falls. Only six riders made it home within the time allowed of 11min 44 seconds.
In what was a devastating blow for Nicola Wilson, she encountered a serious fall on one of her two rides of the day and was immediately taken to hospital for further tests. Wilson and the 2011 gelding, JL Dublin fell at the Mars M flowerbox, which was later removed due to the nature of the incident. The horse, who is owned by James and Jo Lambert, had stumbled on landing and rolled over the European Champion. Fortunately, he was taken back to his stable and is believed to be well. Wilson, however, remains in hospital where the latest reports state she is “comfortable”.
Unfortunately for Oliver Townend, despite lying in 2nd and 3rd place going into the showjumping phase, the win wasn’t meant to be. His cross country ride on Swallow Springs was perhaps one of the most talked-about of the day. Not only was there a long delay following Wilson’s fall, where he and the horse were stopped mid-course, but the pair later almost fell at the Quarry causing speculation over their position in the competition. After what was a near miss that demonstrated his tremendous ability in the saddle, the pair were eliminated due to the way in which the incident unfolded, alongside the action over part 4c. However, later in the day, the footage was investigated further and the pair were reinstated leaving spectators rather confused. On the final day of competition, Townend’s run of unfortunate events continued as both horses hit a fence leaving him still in a highly respected 3rd and 5th.
David Doel, who lives just 20 minutes down the road from Badminton, had a dream debut, finishing in sixth place on Galileo Nieuwmoed with a double clear, and Kitty King, a member of last year’s winning European championships team, was seventh on Vendredi Biats.
Irishman Austin O’Connor interrupted British domination with eighth place on the spectacular Colorado Blue, and American first-timer Tamra Smith was ninth on Mai Baum. Britain’s Richard Jones and Alfies Clover rounded up the top 10.
After a gap of three years due the coronavirus pandemic, stakeholder support for the event was huge: 180,000 visitors attended over the four days, with Saturday a sell-out, and the many trade stands did a roaring trade. There was a real buzz in the air, while the weather behaved nicely throughout.
said Event Director Jane Tuckwell.
It was everything I could have wished for. There were lots of happy people, fantastic results, and wonderful sponsors in our presenting partner Mars Equestrian and our official partner Lifesource BP. It’s a dream come true at last. Bring on 2023.”
Dreams can come true: Laura Collett and London 52, 2022 Badminton champions. Credit: Kit Houghton/Badminton Horse Trials
Full results on www.eventingscores.co.uk
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