Badminton Horse Trials things to do: your complete guide

  • If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian, this week (4–8 May 2022), and perhaps haven’t visited before or, given the event hasn’t taken place since 2019 owing to the Covid pandemic, have forgotten what’s on offer for you, here is our complete guide on what you really need to check out while you’re there.

    Walk the cross-country course

    Make sure that, no matter which day you’re visiting Badminton, you take a walk around the iconic five-star cross-country course – until you’ve seen those fences in person, you don’t really get a true taste for how enormous they are! Just make sure you stand behind the roped off areas of the course and don’t walk up to the fences as the Badminton work very hard to ensure the best ground for the five-star competitors. Alternatively, you can join a pre-organized cross-country course walk, where a range of experts can explain to you fence-by-fence how each obstacle should be ridden, and can provide fascinating insight. Find out more about the course walks available.

    Check out the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championship

    The BE90 and BE100 championships will take place on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Badminton and features some of the best grassroots horses and riders in the country. You can see their cross-country action around the Badminton parkland on the Wednesday.

    Visit at least one of the 500+ tradestands

    Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? Badminton’s vast shopping village is one of the many highlights of the event each year, attracting a huge collection of many well-known brands. From equestrian fashion and lifestyle brands, there is plenty to choose from. The opening hours of the shopping village are as follows:

    Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 9 am–6pm
    Saturday: 9 am–7pm
    Sunday: 9 am–5pm

    Oh, and don’t forget to have a walk around the food stalls too

    There will be a selection of food-based tradestands for you to wander around, from delicious smoked fish to a range of wines, there is something for everyone.

    Watch potential stars of the future in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse class

    Badminton will host a qualifier for the final, which will happen at Burghley in September, for both four- and five-year-old potential eventing stars. This will happen just beyond the main arena and competitors will be showing off their young stars throughout the day.

    Watch an Olympic dressage rider in action

    On both the Thursday and Friday lunchtimes at 12.30pm in the main arena, British Olympic dressage rider and H&H columnist Laura Tomlinson will be giving a display. Laura will be accompanied by a rider from her home team, with the display culminating in a freestyle-to-music performance.

    Peruse a range of stallions standing in the UK at the moment

    There will be a stallion display on Friday evening in the main arena following the conclusion of the dressage, where some of the best of British sport horse breeding will be on show. Twelve stallions will parade and will include Tomatillo, clone of Finn and Mary Guinness’ 2004 Badminton winner Tamarillo, and Britannia’s Mail, out of Lucinda Fredericks’s 2007 Badminton-winning mare, Headley Britannia, plus Tiger Attack, Pennineview Bee Spritely, Ashway Laurenzo, KL Mac and Catherston Oakley.

    Have a go at some dog agility

    Located by the main arena and new for each day of the 2022 event, bring your dog to Badminton and have a go at dog agility – just make sure that if you do bring your dog, you don’t leave it in your car at all and that when you are walking around the site, it is on a short lead at all times.

    The Shetland Pony Grand National

    This brilliant spectacle will take place on the Saturday of Badminton at 10.30am in the main arena, prior to the cross-country action getting underway. Make sure you give them all a good cheer!

    Give the Duke of Beaufort Hunt’s hounds a holla

    At 4.30pm on the Sunday of Badminton, just after the winner has been decided, the Duke of Beaufort hounds, whose kennels are within the Badminton Estate, will parade in the main arena. They are sure to be a sight to behold and always worth raising the metaphorical roof for.

    Free ice cream

    Yes, really! Free solar inspired ice cream will be available for all at Badminton this year. Lightsource bp, a global leader in solar development, will be creating free ice cream in celebration of their inaugural year as an official partner of Badminton Horse Trials. Lightsource bp will offer visitors to their stand (107 center walk) Sunshine Ice-Cream, which is orange flavored, between 12–4pm from Thursday to the Sunday of the event.

    And of course, last but by no means at least, watch all of the five-star action

    Whether you are there in person (and don’t forget you need to buy tickets for any day you wish to visit before midnight the night be fore the day you are attending – absolutely no tickets will be available to buy on the gate, and you will be turned away) or via Badminton TV, don’t miss a moment of the five-star action, where some of the world’s greatest horses and riders will battle it out for glory.

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