Badminton Horse Trials
The Badminton Horse Trials is a three-day event, one of only six annual Concours Complet International (CCI) Four Star **** events as classified by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), which takes place in April or May each year in the park of Badminton House, the seat of the Dukes of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, England.
Badminton was first held in 1949 by the 10th Duke of Beaufort in order to let British riders train for future international events and was advertised as "the most important horse event in Britain". It was the second three day event held in Britain, with the first being its inspiration - the 1948 Olympics. The first Badminton had 22 horses from Britain and Ireland start, and was won by Golden Willow. Eight of the 22 starters failed to complete the cross-country course. Badminton was the home of the first European Championship in 1953, and was won by Major Laurence Rook on Starlight XV. In 1955, Badminton moved to Windsor Castle for a year, at the invitation of the Queen, in order to hold the second European Championships. Badminton was first televised in 1956. In 1959, it was decided to hold Badminton in two sections, called the Great and Little Badminton, due to the popularity of the event and the number of entries. The horses in the two sections jumped the same fences, but were separated into the two divisions based on their money winnings. This graded approach was abandoned after the 1965 event. In 1989, the current director & course-designer Hugh Thomas, who rode in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, took over from Frank Weldon, a former winner, who is credited with bringing the event to the pinnacle it's at today.
Today's Badminton is held in a 6 square kilometer (1500 acre) area Badminton Park, where the car parks, tradestands, arena and cross country courses are located.
Badminton has been forced to cancel on several occasions for various reasons. In 1966, 1975 and 1987 the event was cancelled completely and in 1963 was downgraded to a one-day event due to bad weather. In 2001 it was cancelled due to foot and mouth disease.
Between 1961 and 1991, Badminton was sponsored by Whitbread, one of the longest sponsorships for any sport. In 1992, Mitsubishi Motors took over sponsorship and recently renewed their deal until 2011.
Together with the four-star rated Rolex Kentucky Three Day and the Burghley Horse Trials, Badminton forms the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. The only person ever to win the Grand Slam is Pippa Funnell. Andrew Hoy (Aus) nearly took the title in 2007 but lost it when he had a pole down at Burghley. The remaining CCI**** rated events are the Luhmühlen Horse Trials, the Australian International Three Day Event and the Stars of Pau. It is also now part of the HSBC FEI Classics—a points-based system containing the CCI**** events.
The cross country day at Badminton attracts crowds of up to a quarter of a million, which are the largest for any paid-entry sport event in the United Kingdom, and the second largest in the world (after the Indianapolis 500).
The event has been won by the following people and horses:
- 1949 John Shedden : Golden Willow
- 1950 Tony Collins : Remus
- 1951 Hans Schwarzenbach : Vae Victis
- 1952 Mark Darley : Emily Little
- 1953 Laurence Rook : Starlight
- 1954 Margaret Hough : Bambi V
- 1955 Frank Weldon : Kilbarry (Event held at Windsor)
- 1956 Frank Weldon : Kilbarry
- 1957 Sheila Waddington (Sheila Willcox) : High and Mighty
- 1958 Sheila Waddington (Sheila Willcox) : High and Mighty
- 1959 Sheila Waddington (Sheila Willcox) : Airs and Graces
- 1960 Bill Roycroft : Our Solo
- 1961 Laurie Morgan : Salad Days
- 1962 Anneli Drummond-Hay : Merely-a-Monarch
- 1963: Event downgraded to 1 day event due to bad weather.
- 1964 James Templer : M'Lord Connolly
- 1965 Eddie Boylan : Durlas Eile
- 1966: Event cancelled due to bad weather.
- 1967 Celia Ross-Taylor : Jonathan
- 1968 Jane Holderness-Roddam (Jane Bullen) : Our Nobby
- 1969 Richard Walker : Pasha
- 1970 Richard Meade : The Poacher
- 1971 Mark Phillips : Great Ovation
- 1972 Mark Phillips : Great Ovation
- 1973 Lucinda Green (Lucinda Prior-Palmer) : Be Fair
- 1974 Mark Phillips : Colombus
- 1975: Event cancelled due to bad weather.
- 1976 Lucinda Green (Lucinda Prior-Palmer) : Wide Awake
- 1977 Lucinda Green (Lucinda Prior-Palmer) : George
- 1978 Jane Holderness-Roddam (Jane Bullen) : Warrior
- 1979 Lucinda Green (Lucinda Prior-Palmer) : Killaire
- 1980 Mark Todd : Southern Comfort III
- 1981 Mark Phillips : Lincoln
- 1982 Richard Meade : Speculator III
- 1983 Lucinda Green (Prior-Palmer) : Regal Realm
- 1984 Lucinda Green (Prior-Palmer) : Beagle Bay
- 1986 Ian Stark : Sir Wattie
- 1987: Event cancelled due to bad weather.
- 1988 Ian Stark : Sir Wattie (Stark also came second on Glenburnie)
- 1989 Ginny Leng (Ginny Holgate) : Master Craftsman
- 1990 Nicola Coe : Middle Road
- 1991 Rodney Powell : Irishman II,
- 1992 Mary King : King William
- 1993 Ginny Leng (Ginny Holgate) : Welton Houdini
- 1994 Mark Todd : Horton Point
- 1996 Mark Todd : Bertie Blunt
- 1998 Chris Bartle : Word Perfect II
- 1999 Ian Stark : Jaybee
- 2000 Mary King : Star Appeal
- 2001: Event cancelled due to UK foot and mouth epidemic.
- 2005 Pippa Funnell : Primmore's Pride
- 2006 Andrew Hoy (AUS) : Moonfleet
- 2008 Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) : Hildago de L'Ile
- 2009 Oliver Townend (UK) : Flint Curtis
- 2010 Paul Tapner (AUS) : Inonothing
- Skwal ridden by Andrew Downes died of a suspected heart attack in the finishing ring 
- Icare d’Auzay ridden by Jean-Lou Bigot died after a fence flag marker pole pierced an artery 
In 2007, after a long period without rain, the ground was considered to be too hard, resulting in 22 withdrawals. 
- ↑ History History of Badminton
- ↑ 1976 Olympics 1976 Olympics
- ↑ Wheldon Winner Previous Winners
- ↑ Dates of Cancellations Cancellation Dates
- ↑ FEI Eventing Page FEI Eventing Page.
- ↑ HSBC Classics FEI Site HSBC Classics FEI Site.
- ↑ Visitor Numbers Badminton Visitor Numbers
- ↑ Daily Telegraph
- ↑ "Past Winners". Badminton Horse Trials Website. Accessed July 07, 2008.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 :Horsetalk - Fredericks retains Badminton lead after cross-country, 6 May 2009
- ↑ Horsetalk - Horse killed on Badminton cross-country, 3 May 2010
- ↑ The Times - Phillips puts the welfare of her horse first and withdraws, 5 May 2007