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A different sort of Badminton

After nine years of riding at Badminton, it should have been strangely quiet this year, but instead I was kept very busy with plenty of work for Sponsors and lots of commentary.


It started on Tuesday afternoon with a course walk for forty riders competing in the Grass Routes Championships.  Everyone was eager to learn; I thoroughly enjoyed their company and enthusiasm and it was brilliant to see many of them have great results. 







Once the main event got underway we truly got going.  I worked with the Press Officer, Julian Seaman, throughout the week and had slots of Radio Badminton every day. Around this I took a number of course walks on the dressage days, one for all our sponsors and their prize-winners and others for independently organised groups.


I joined the BEF and UK Sport for lunch on Friday and caught up with a number of our fantastic sponsors on their trade stands throughout the event.


On Friday evening I took part in the Horse Trials Support Groups’ Cross Country Preview alongside Yogi Breisner and Ian Stark with Alice Fox-Pitt compering.  It was great fun and Alice Fox-Pitt did a brilliant job of getting everyone to open up, Chatham House Rules, and it was an entertaining session!


Saturday took me into a whole new world of life behind the glass of the commentary box.  I started the live cross-country action with Matt Ryan on Badminton Radio and then hopped over to the BBC commentary box where I was lucky enough to spend the bulk of the day commentating with Mike Tucker and Ian Stark.  I was very fortunate to be able to learn the ropes from the real pros –  it was a new and exciting experience for me. On Sunday I was back on the radio for the first session of show jumping and moved to FEI TV for the afternoon jumping session – I had little voice left by the end of the weekend!


With the recent loss of my father, who has been a major presence at Badminton for longer than I can remember, along with the huge hole left by the wonderful Wild Lone who was so successful there last year, it was never going to be the easiest of Badmintons. Fortunately with virtually every minute of the four days accounted for there was no time to dwell.


Finally, what a fantastic and well-deserved result for William Fox-Pitt and his team.  It was a great competition with some excellent displays of riding and the cream rising to the top.


Photographs thanks to Hannah Freeland Photography












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