It’s safe to say that Badminton 2013 was a veritable roller coaster of emotions for many of the riders. No one could have predicted the outcome, with neither William Fox Pitt nor Andrew Nicholson winning the Rolex Grand Slam and Micheal Jung tipping the last rail on Monday.
Badminton first timer Jonathan Paget clinched the title with a superb clear round on Clifton Promise.
Our North American riders did us proud! Rebecca Howard ended in 12 position in her first Badminton with Riddle Master. She credited her horse with jumping perfectly on the cross country course, although she did say that they lost time when she “took her foot off” during one of the long gallops.
Clark Montgomery and Universe put in a brilliant double clear show jumping round, ending in a very respectable 27th place.
Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister had some ups and downs over the weekend. Her cross country round was foot perfect, although she did say that Ringwood Magister didn’t have a great warm-up prior to XC. I’m sure all of our American fans felt for her when she had the first rail in the show jumping phase, but she kept it at just four faults, leaving her in 17th place.
Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz made history this weekend, being the only horse and rider to have completed all four star events in the Northern Hemisphere. Her show jumping round on Shiraz was probably not what she had wanted, although her horse was held for inspection at the trot-up on Monday morning, so soreness may have been a factor.
The Badminton show jumping course was all up to height. William Fox-Pitt said that it was the biggest course he’d seen at Badminton. The crowds were out in full force, giving lots of atmosphere to the final. French first-timer, Astier Nicolas, was among many riders who commented how amazing it was to ride in front of such crowds. He finished in 9th place, and as an ex-Hartpury student like myself, I couldn’t be prouder.
There were a host of retirement ceremonies at Badminton today: Inonothing, Headley Britannia and Lenamore. The three great horses did their last laps of honour in style while the crowds in the sold-out grandstand seats cheered.
It’s sad to see the end of Badminton, but I’m glad that everyone seemed to finish with a smile on their faces. I’m so proud of our North American riders, they really did shine at Badminton this year. We hope to see them back in 2014, challenging the world’s best riders!
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