Well, what a weekend! I just absolutely love Badminton! I was lucky enough to be able to fly back from France for a long weekend to catch up with all of the action of the Cross Country and Show jumping.
On the Saturday, I went with my besties Hannah & Jo (they are not horsey but they know how much I am into it). We arrived nice and early and did a spot of shopping. I bought an Ariat Sun Stopper shirt that I had my eye on and was particularly chuffed that I could fit into an XL childs size which saved me £15! We watched the Shetland Grand National, which was just so entertaining. Some of them sped around the course, whilst others poodled along behind or even cut through the middle of the course! Then headed over to the Thatchers stand, where we sampled their new rosé cider which was rather nice!
We then headed out onto the Cross Country course. Incase you missed it you can see an interactive map of the full course here. I had read that the course was big and as difficult as ever. Our first stop was of course the Lake! It was fairly rammed full of people like normal. But we did manage to see Oliver Townend come through. When I was watching the horses and riders come through the lake, there was so many people watching, a few possibly waiting for someone to fall into the water and I thought how scary it must be for those riders! They must have nerves of steel!
We wandered past Badminton House and took our obligatory selfies and managed to see William Fox Pitt come flying past us. We then followed the course, stopping at the Young minds bushes, and the Feed Haywain. Next we went over to Nye Timber Heights, this was a good jump to spectate at as it was raised, so I managed to get a few shots of one of my fav’s Ben Hobday and Wizard over this one. I particularly enjoyed Ben’s whoop of delight as they galloped away.
We stayed here for most of the afternoon, as we queued for a long time to get something to eat. Note to self take a picnic next time. We thought about it but decided to take our drinks instead. But it took a big chunk of our afternoon away. By the time we had walked down to the loo’s at the far end of the course, came back, queued for a LONG time for some expensive, mediocre & quite frankly small portions of noodles and then sitting to eat that. It worked out well though as we had a drink whilst sitting in the sunshine and then were able to meet fellow blogger and my instagram buddy Becky aka @becksbackinthesaddle at the Mirage Water.
We then headed back to The World of Food & Drink, which was located in its normal spot but not in a tent this year. We tasted all sorts of things including honey whiskey, vodka, cheese and even some spices and balsamic vinegar!
We had a fabulous day and really soaked up the ambience. I just love seeing all the dogs and the fashion. I think I appreciate everything more now I have moved abroad. It definitely feels very English. You don’t see much tweed in France! It was a great day out with my friends but was over so quickly. They say time flies when you are having fun! Luckily for me I returned to Badminton the next day. This time with my mum Margaret and Sister Ellen.
Now, we are some what veterans of Badminton, having been many times before. So although still relaxed (a coffee break and a(nother) cider stop were also squeezed in). We knew exactly what we wanted to see and do. After not seeing all the shops on Saturday or many horses for that matter! The Sunday let me get my horsey fix! We started in The World of Food for breakfast and then visited nearly every shop Badminton had to offer. We were mainly looking as none of us actually have our own horses at the moment, which does help your bank balance from taking a massive hit. However I made sure I got some Fudge from The Fudge Kitchen ( if you live in the west they have a shop in Bath & the fudge is to die for) and some really strong cheddar cheese to take back with me to France! I was able to find some Halloumi as well for lunch furthering my quest for food to eat that I can’t find in France.
Then came the show jumping. I absolutely love the nervous excitement of the show jumping arena. We watched the top twenty jump the course, which actually gave a few of the horses a tough time. With only 9 clear rounds in the top twenty the tension was really mounting by the time Christopher Burton came in to ride to keep his third position. After shocking the crowd with the only refusal of the afternoon on Graf Liberty, the tension hung in the air until Piggy French came in and did a beautiful clear round! The crowd went wild and it seemed that everyone in the grandstands felt so pleased to see her pure joy, she kept pointing to her horse Vanir Kamira and just couldn’t seem to believe that she had gone clear! It was quite emotional actually. Then came in Oliver Townend, the commentator announced he could have one fence down but not two to keep his position. I’m personally not a fan of his but thought it was unlikely he wouldn’t win. However, he knocked one down, everyone gasped but I thought he had still won. Once he had finished there were a few seconds of mumblings and confusion in the grandstand until it was announced that Piggy French had won because Oliver Townend had knocked one down and incurred a few time penalties. The crowd went wild! What a result! So so pleased for Piggy French!
1st. Piggy French & Vanir Kamira
2nd. Oliver Townend & Ballaghmor Class
3rd. Christopher Burton & Cooley Lands
4th. Christopher Burton & Graf Liberty
5th. Andrew Nicholson & Swallow Springs
6th. Oliver Townend & Cillnabradden Evo
7th. Kristina Cook & Billy the Red
8th. Imogen Murray & Ivar Gooden
9th. William Fox-Pitt & Little Fire
10th. Tim Price & Ringwood Sky Boy.
For more information about Badminton head to their website.
So, what a weekend! I will be definitely coming back next year. I have my sights set on all of the days next year and definitely want to go on one of the course walks.
Did your favourite win? Were you there too? Let me know in the comments below.
Here is a link to my previous blog about my fav riders that competed at Badminton.
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Copyright of Louise Dando & In Due Horse 2019.