On the cross country at the Badminton Grassroots Championship

On the cross country at the Badminton Grassroots Championship – photo by Celeste

There’s a special kind of magic at Badminton. The immaculate grounds and imposing stately house give the place a fairy tale feel. It’s like being at the eventing equivalent of Disneyland. Many amateur riders dream of having the opportunity to compete at Badminton, and today many fulfilled it.

The Thursday before the start of the CCI**** dressage is typically reserved for the Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier and Badminton Grassroots Championship.

The Young Event Horse (YEH) class is a combined test (dressage and show jumping) with a judged ‘suitability’ and conformation portion as well. The class is truly for the stars of the future, open to 5 and 6 year olds that aim to qualify to the final at Burghley Horse Trials.

This year is special as those who qualified but didn’t get to compete last year are getting the chance with the ’12 and ’13 Championships running concurrently.

The other stars of the future were the juniors and adult amateurs competing in the Grassroots Championship classes in BE 90 and BE 100 levels (equivalent to USEA Beginner Novice and Novice, respectively). It has been a real thrill to watch these up and coming event riders gallop along the course, many sporting wide, contagious grins.

Francesca Warrington and Corporal Clover at Badminton - photo by Celeste Wilkins

Francesca Warrington and Corporal Clover at Badminton – photo by Celeste Wilkins

The rare sunshine has really brightened up the mood here. I caught up with amateur event rider Francesca Warrington who was enjoying the sunshine waiting for the event’s farrier to drive down to the dressage warm up to tack her mount Corporal Clover’s front shoe back on. Despite the minor setback, the pair were pretty chilled out. She hopes to use the YEH class as a springboard into the Grassroots level and I’m sure we’ll be seeing her next year on the cross-country course.

A rider takes on the brush fence on the BE100 course at the Badminton Grassroots Championship - photo by Celeste

A rider takes on the brush fence on the BE100 course at the Badminton Grassroots Championship – photo by Celeste

The shopping is great, but I think I will wait til tomorrow to really delve into the shops as I’m hoping to pick up some fashion tips from the trot-up!

Céleste
Read all my blog posts here