Badminton 2011 will be a unique Event - For reasons of both TV and International Horse Trials schedules and the recent innovation of running over a Bank Holiday weekend, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials will run over the Easter Holidays, from Thursday April 21st to the climax on Easter Monday, April 25.
The first day, Thursday, will be devoted to the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships, the national final of a series for amateur or ‘weekend’ riders, following the huge success of the first Championships in 2010. The shops will be open for this extra day and the International cross country course can be walked by spectators, who may also witness the Horse Inspection for the main event in front of Badminton House late in the afternoon.
Car Parking charges will be the only cost on this day (other of course than the money spent in the 250 plus trade stands!) as personal admission charges will be waived. Set in the Duke of Beaufort’s Gloucestershire park, the world’s top international equestrian competition will start with Dressage on Good Friday and it will be taking place during the school holidays for the first time in over twenty years, which is sure to swell the attendance of younger enthusiasts at this traditionally family friendly sporting weekend.
Eighty of the top horse and rider combinations from around the world will contest this ultimate challenge, encompassing the delicacy of Dressage, the bravery of Cross Country on Easter Sunday and the final test of nerve and horsemanship in the Show Jumping.
Many of these top athletes, both equine and human, will have their sights set on the autumn European Championships at Luhmuhlen, Germany, but the prospect of the London Olympics 2012 at Greenwich looms large for all whose squad building plans are already underway. As always, a top placing at Badminton makes it almost impossible for national selectors from any country to leave a rider out of their national team.
Event Director and course designer Hugh Thomas said, ‘The sport has expanded enormously over the last twenty years and we expect a very international field again in 2011. With Easter being as late as it ever can be, it is almost certainly a one off running over the Easter weekend, which is traditionally a great one for sport, so we look forward to being a part of it.’
Every year Badminton adopts one special Charity and for 2011 it will be Cancer Research UK, who will have a Cross Country obstacle in their honour and will have many volunteers and staff at the Event for their fund raising activities.
The Box Office opens for public booking on Monday 10th January and while telephone (01454 218375) and postal applications (Horse Trials Office, Badminton, GL9 1DF) are very acceptable the quickest and easiest booking method nowadays is definitely via Badminton’s website on http://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/