Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course: Andrew Hoy’s thoughts

  • Former winner Andrew Hoy has given exclusive insight on the Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course along with memories of the highs – and his steep learning curve – at the iconic five-star.

    The 2022 event, presented by Mars Equestrian, returns for the first time since 2019, owing to the pandemic, from 4 to 8 May.

    Andrew describes Eric Winter’s course as a “true five-star test”.

    The eight-time Australian Olympic event rider lifted the Badminton trophy in 2006 for his victorious performance aboard John and Susan Magnier’s Moonfleet.

    “He was the most beautiful horse and I had wonderful rides with him around here. I could just ride him in a snaffle bridle, ”he says.

    “You have to experience [riding here] to understand the joy of when it goes so well. “

    That crowning moment came 27 years after Andrew’s first Badminton and he recalls his early starts at the world-famous event as being a “steep learning curve”.

    “The first times I came here was in 1979 and 1980. Those were the only times I rode the courses designed by Frank Weldon. I jumped 14 of his fences in those two years. For me, it was not a good experience in terms of the result, but the learning curve was absolutely vertical!

    “What it taught me as a rider was absolutely wonderful and that’s what taught me what a five-star competition is all about.”

    Watch Andrew discuss key combinations on the Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course below and read his full thoughts on the track in H & H’s Badminton preview, out today (28 April).

    Fence 9 & 10ab: The Lake

    “If you didn’t realize you’re at Badminton, you will definitely at this point on the cross-country course. The horses will have already got their feet wet going through the water and jumping fence eight [the Lightsource bp Lower Lake]. They then gallop up, turn left-handed in front of the crowd to fence nine – a log with a brush on it. It’s very high and stands right on the very edge of the bank, ”says Andrew.

    He adds competitors want a good quality, controlled canter on the approach, making sure they find exactly the right take-off spot, to create a nice profile over the fence.

    “You want to be landing as close to the back of the fence as you can so you minimize the drop into water. You want the horses landing on the edge of the bank, ”he says.

    “The way I walk it is five strides to 10a [a choice of a left- or right-handed brush fence in the water], and I believe the preferred route to be the left-hand side. You then have a very nice right-hand bend and I walk it as a nice three strides up a slope, which has a spring-board effect to jump the brush coming out. “

    He adds that if combinations have an awkward jump over fence nine, there is a “little bit of an easier route” which involves the right-hand side of the brush, followed by a longer route to 10b.

    Fence 14: KBIS Brush Village

    “Fence 14a is a very big, square box brush, that you need a proper gallop to,” he says, adding combinations will then turn left-handed down the hill to the first of two corners.

    You need a very good distance to 14b, so you have a great jump over it to land well out, as you then have three strides to your “c” element. This is where the five-star riders and the five-star horses are going to come to the fore. I give this fence a rating of 10/10 for effort. “

    Badminton Horse Trials will be livestreamed in the UK and worldwide via Badminton TV this year. A 2022 Badminton TV subscription costs £ 19.99 and gives the buyer access to TV and video coverage from the competition for 12 months from the purchase date, including preview, replay and archive footage. To buy a Badminton TV subscription, visit: watch.badminton-horse.tv/products/badminton-tv-pass

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