Sorry it’s late, I literally had NO time to write this up on Monday… well, I did, if I’d have missed the SJ coursewalk for Journalists, which I didn’t want to do! Since the first horse went into the SJ arena before we’d left it, I had no chance to do this before they started jumping. After the event there didn’t seem to be so much of a hurry!
With just 8 Eliminated and 5 Retirements on the XC, and just one non-starter after the Dressage (Lucy Jackson’s Willy Do) I suspect that 67 horses has to be the biggest field forward to the Trot-up in a long time. Or ever? There were a few withdrawals and a few sent to the Holding Area, but only one was spun, and that did look wrong: Andreas Dibowski and Butts Leon, who were in 15th place overnight.
Oliver Townend’s ride Armada was first out. The big-framed chestnut looked ready to go round the Grand National and his big left knee looked exactly the same as it did on Thursday. Sound as a pound, passed.
Jock Paget (eventual winner, of course) trotted his next, and I wrote in my notes “Jock’s horses think he needs to run faster!” They were both very keen. Clifton Promise was sent to the Holding Box. I and those around me could not see why.
Some of the Ground Jury decisions were a bit surprising. A few were passed which we, and those head-on in the Photographers’ area, thought looked wrong, or at least very stiff. The vet in the Holding Box inspects the horses, and, depending on what is found, makes the judgement call of whether s/he considers that 1 round of SJ will be detrimental or not.
I thought riders weren’t meant to carry a schooling whip during the trot-up, but some did, including Jock Paget, Sam Griffiths and Sebastien Mateu, and nobody said anything. They didn’t use them, but the horses trotted willingly, possibly because they knew the whips were to hand!
Some experienced riders did use a bit of guile when trotting up. Holding the left rein loose and the right rein tight to prevent head nodding, or holding the horse on a contact with both reins, hand about 6″ behind his chin, or doing intermittent hard jerks with the right rein to keep the horse in an outline and/or under control. Interesting. I’ve never stood that close to the trot-up lane with an unimpeded view of the riders on the side they are on for the return, before. Some ran with the horse on 2 totally loose reins, disguising nothing. Some ran very fast, slowly. It was fascinating. Michael Jung ran his 2 very steadily, while both Kilronan and Nereo were encouraged to do a very showy-off extended trot that made us all go ‘WOW’.
Easy Target was the first one to truly notice the crowd, and turned and stared around with enormous interest, which raised a ripple of laughter.
Outfits: Tina Cook was wearing white jeans (very trendy this year at Badminton) and an immaculately-tailored blue jacket.
Mary King wore perfectly fitting light blue jeans, a fitted jacket and heeled boots.
Ruth Edge had her very jazzy red and cream fitted coat and black jeans.
Vittoria Pannizon wore her beautifully tailored uniform, which looks almost child-sized.
Lucy Wiegersma was wearing her trademark patterned coat (which appears to be made out of a piece of carpet… it must be boiling hot in there!)
Rebecca Howard was in a scarlet belted trenchcoat and black trousers, which looked fantastic.
Nicky Roncoroni sported a hat with a jaunty feather, a lovely touch.
Ingrid Klimke’s jazzy sweater dress with black tights and long boots were really flattering, very stylish.
Charlotte Agnew stole the show again. She wore black tights and black leather hotpants, creating a stir. Out of Africa was pronounced totally sound and passed, but the Commentator said that the Ground Jury would like to see her run again please, which made the huge crowds laugh.
Louisa Milne Home’s King Eider is a huge long horse, seeing him up close gave me extra respect for the great job she does with him, because she’s little and he’s chuffing enormous!
Tom McEwen’s Dry Old Party sported very obvious sponsor’s quartermarks in an intricate pattern, is this going to become the new trend, over nationalistic marks? Scottish thistles were again very much on display.
Oh dear, we had a Wardrobe Malfunction. Poor Colleen Rutledge’s tan hold-ups, umm… well, they didn’t. They got down to just above her knees and then were going lower. The crowd laughed. It happened to poor Piggy French, as I described here, and really shouldn’t have happened again! Poor Colleen. Thank goodness that was the worst moment of her whole Badminton though, and huge kudos to her and Shiraz for being the first combination to complete all four Northern Hemisphere 4*s, all clear too.
Tiana Coudray was in flatties for this trot-up, which made a few people sigh with relief. Her belted navy coat was lovely. Ringwood Magister’s trot is to die for and he gained the only “very impressive” of the session from the Commentator.
Lucy Jackson, for whom it was Animator’s last event as he’s going to be ridden by Owner Nigel Taylor’s daughter from now on, was in white skinny jeans and a fitted puppytooth coat, very smart.
Pippa Funnell was in a beautiful long cream sweater with a belt, and very smart heeled boots which gave her no traction whatsover when she tried to stop the keen Redesigned in front of the Ground Jury.
If Mary King had not taken up eventing she could have an alternative career as an Olympic 100m runner. She can seriously sprint to show those big horses off at their best.
Harry Meade’s Wild Lone was hyped up and ready to go XC again, pawing with impatience in front of the Ground Jury, which raised a laugh. The crowd got a lot of entertainment, it was definitely worth the early start to attend. I think they need a bigger ‘grandstand’ seating area next time!
One thing I noticed was that quite a few horses had their sides visibly rubbed by, presumably, their girths. Rubbed, pinched, and in some cases quite swollen areas. They were definitely not spur marks, much too far forward. I wonder if this is one of the paybacks of monoflap saddles on certain horses?
Anyway, it was an entertaining trot-up for the crowds, and a huge relief for all but one of the riders. Commiserations to ‘Dibo’, we hope Butts Leon is fine now, and look forward to seeing you both out again.
Photos by Katie Mortimore and Liz Awty.