12 things you might not know about Badminton winner Laura Collett

Laura Collett pulled off a sensational first Badminton victory this weekend riding London 52.

The 32-year-old British rider is a household name, thanks largely to last year’s Olympic team gold, but did you know that she always rides cross-country wearing goggles? Is a former Horse of the Year Show champion and has had to cope with death threats via social media?

Read on to learn more about the new Badminton champion

1 Laura is blind in one eye

Laura suffered a rotational fall on the cross-country while competing at the Tweseldown Horse Trials in 2013.
The mare she was riding, Tis A Beauty, chested a filled-in corner and Laura was blue-lighted to hospital.

She spent seven days in a coma before emerging with a lacerated liver as well as a broken shoulder, cheek bone and ribs. She also lost the sight in her right eye.

2 She rides in SSG Goggles

Due to the blindness, Laura wears SSG goggles – similar to those worn by steeplechase jockeys – every time she sets out over solid fences because her sight is affected by bright sunlight.

3 She used to compete in showing

At the age of just five, Laura became a familiar face on the showing circuit, alongside her mum Tracey. Laura won the 2003 supreme pony championship title at Horse of the Year Show.

4 She started eventing at the age of 12

Laura started eventing when she was 12 years old after she bought her Pony Europeans partner Noble Springbok, whom she produced from scratch. Laura says the pony set her up for life.

5 She made her senior British team debut at the age of just 22

In 2011, Laura was selected for the European Championships in Luhmuhlen riding Rayef after the pair finished eighth at Badminton that spring. However, their senior debut ended in elimination.

6 She has received death threats

Laura was subjected to a barrage of death threats and trolling on social media when she took in dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star to retrain him for dressage in 2015. The vitriol started again after the horse suffered a fatal paddock accident.

“Everyone can be brave behind a computer screen,” said Laura. “I’ve had to learn to ignore the bad bits. I turned it off when it was all kicking off. “

7 She lives in the Cotswolds

She is currently based on her own Jason Houghton’s farm in the Cotswolds, over the road from the Salperton Estate – former site of advanced horse trials and Laura’s favorite hacking venue.

8 Badminton is her second CCI5 * victory

Laura won her first five-star trophy in 2020 when she triumphed at the Pau Horse Trials in the south of France with London 52.

9 She has an MBE

Laura was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 New Year’s Honors List.

It followed helping Team GB to gold at the Tokyo Olympics – Britain’s first team gold for 49 years.

10 She couldn’t afford London 52 when she spotted him as a youngster

London 52 was out of Laura’s budget when she saw him on a horse buying trip to Germany.

Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott helped her buy him and they still co-own the horse with Laura today.

11 London 52’s name is a mystery

Despite sharing his name with the capital of England, London 52 is a German Holsteiner and Laura bought him from Germany.

12 She’s been on TV

When appearing on BBC One’s A Question of Sport, Laura answered two of the three eventing questions correctly.

The one she missed was who won Badminton in 2008 – the answer is France’s Nicholas Touzaint.

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