Monday, 26 May 2014

Badminton Horse Trials

Badminton, seat of the Duke of Beaufort is synonymous with great three sports; foxhunting; the eponymous game involving a shuttlecock, first played in the Great Hall; and the world famous Horse Trials. Since 1949 the World's top horses and riders have competed here for the ultimate accolade in their sport. The Duke of Beaufort, President of the Horse Trials was himself a very accomplished rider, being placed second here in 1959.

Getting a taste of  home for the next five days.

Badminton, the only four star horse trials with stabling for all competitors.

These elite equine athletes come with a great deal of baggage.

The Servants Hall where the competitors, grooms and officials are fed and watered.

Many visitors are more interested in the unbridled shopping opportunities than watching the horses.

The Trot up, a veterinary inspection, is held in front of the House on the Wednesday before the competition begins and on the Sunday morning before the final phase of show jumping.

Andrew Nicholson preparing for the dressage.

The Cocktail Party for the great , the good and the very brave.

Given the distances between the lorry park, the stables and the arena  a shuttle service of buggys carry the competitors, grooms and owners.

Calm before the storm.

The briefing for the hunt staff who act as mounted stewards on cross country day.

Competitors, grooms and owners gather round the screen  in the old kitchen to watch the drama of the cross country.

After all the exertion of the cross country there is nothing like a shower.

The score board tells the story of the carnage dealt by the British spring weather on cross country day, Badminton 2014.