2023 Cross Country Course
Eric Winter’s course design
Take a fascinating interactive tour with six times Badminton winner Lucinda Green and course designer Eric Winter. Filmed walk-throughs, drone flyovers, photos, audio, intelligent direct and alternative routes and statistics.
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Click on any fence on the map for photos, film and audio or browse the whole course. Best viewed in full screen.For additional features such as minute markers, to pinpoint your location on course, record and publish your own courses download a free trial of CrossCountry App
The link to download CrossCountry app is https://www.crosscountryapp.com/app which will take you to the app store or play store on the appropriate phone or gives a QR code on desktop.
THE COURSE DESIGNER – Eric Winter (GBR)
We have changed a lot from last year’s course. Not only have we changed direction to run the course clockwise but also the flavour of the course. This year’s course is all about holding a line and adjustability. A lot more jumping on acute angles and quick-thinking adjustments to distances and stride length are going to be needed this year if the riders are going to take on the Badminton 2023 track and be successful. We also have a new feature rail and step into a hollow which will provide a bit more proper cross-country terrain and a whole new test for both horses and riders.
This year’s course is a very different to last year’s package. I think it more technical than last year and we have used a lot more deformable technology. I wish all the riders and horses the best of luck. I hope everyone enjoys the challenge I have set as much as I enjoyed designing it.
Fence by Fence IllustrationsArtwork of the fences is by Caroline Bromley-Gardner.
1. Spillers Starter
We start as always with the Spillers Starter in the main arena. The first fence is always a horse friendly fence designed to give a good jump and settle the nerves.
2. Bloomfields Horseboxes Keepers Table
The Bloomfields Horseboxes Keepers Table is a big table over the keepers ditch. It’s a big open ditch, as the second fence, but it has always jumped well and is a great way to get both horse and rider focused and on their A game early on.
3. Tortworth Hotel Brush
The Tortworth Hotel Brush sits at the top of a bank after a bit of undulating ground. This should jump well, slopes like this help pick the horses up almost like a trampoline in front of the obstacle.
4. abcd Savills Staircase
The Savills Staircase is the same as it was in 2019 but I don’t expect many of the horses will remember it from then. A big table followed by two steps with only 3 meters between them to another big table. A real attacking fence. The horses have to be quick on their feet down the steps. I don’t expect any problems here because it is obvious what the question is to the horses but I do expect it to be a wakeup call to many that they are now at a 5 star.
5. ab Countryside Alliance Stick Pile
The Countryside Alliance Stick Pile has just one effort when going the straightway which is a really big log pile. There is a way to jump two smaller log piles which will only take a few seconds longer but you will have the extra effort of two fences rather than one.
6. ab Joules Coronation Corral
The Joules Coronation Corral is two big upright gates which can be jumped on an angle on the inside of a pagoda, or you can jump them straight, which is obviously less risky by going around the pagoda but this will take an extra few seconds.
These like many other fences on the course this year have a MIM hinge and clip on them. This is a device that allows the fence to collapse if hit too hard. If a horse hits the fence and breakers the clip thus activating the hinge allowing the fence to fall, the rider will receive 11 penalties to add to their score.
7. Air Ambulances UK Bullfinch
The Air Ambulances UK Bullfinch is a big old traditional fence that you would have seen frequently on courses in the 70s and early 80s. Although we do not see these fences so regularly on modern courses it still provides a valuable test of braveness and scope.
8. abc Lightsource BP Hollow
The Lightsource bp Hollow is a new fence and indeed a new area for 2023. We have put a step into the old boundary ditch then we have built an upright rail just 3 meters (bounce distance) in front of that. To finish it off I have placed a little narrow brush at the top of the slope out of the hollow. The key to this will be getting to the rail at the right speed and in the right place to allow the horses to see their way over the narrow brush.
9. Izusu 4 bar 4
Izusu 4 bar 4 is another old traditional type of cross-country fence. Just a big set of rails to gallop at. This should give the riders a great feeling.
10. ab Mars Equestrian Sustainability Bay
The Mars Equestrian Sustainability Bay is a big brush log that was used last year going into the main lake, followed on by three or maybe four horse strides to a little angled log. Although the A element is big, the riders will need to control their desire to push on at this as the little log could come up very quickly and a little fly by is very much on the cards here.
11. Rolex T Bar
The Rolex T Bar is a bit of a set up fence for the big bank.
12. ab Holland Cooper Owl Hole
The Holland Cooper Owl Hole is a big imposing fence. The step is a full 1.20m high with a bounce over the full brush owl hole with a drop on the landing side. It should have a sign about 20 meters before it saying kick on from here.
13. abcd KBIS Brush Boxes
The KBIS Brush Boxes is in contrast to the fence before because this is really about accuracy on the line. To go the straightway the riders will have to set the line for the horse, taking the inside of the tree to jump the first brush on an acute angle which should put them on a line to pop over the little ditch on and then put two or three strides up to the final brush. There is a slow route here, but it is very slow.
This should jump easily this year. Although the Footbridge is a big fence there is a long downhill gallop to it which should see the horses jumping this with no problems.
15. ab Lightsource BP Pond
The Lightsource BP Pond has two direct routes and a slower route. The main solar panel sits on a bank with a bit of a drop on the landing side. There is then a choice of two direct routes out. The B panel on the right is up a small bank to jump on a very steep angle and the B panel on the left is up a steeper bank but with less angle. The choice here is personal as to which the rider thinks their horse will prefer.
17. Pedigree Dog Kennel
The Pedigree Dog Kennel is a nice table type fence. It is maximum height but not complicated.
17.ab LeMieux Mound
The LeMieux Mound is an upright set of plank rails at the top of a steep mound. You need a good punchy canter up here to jump the rails then plenty of control through the hollow to get a good line to the big brush on the way out. This is not as difficult as some fences we have had here in the past but it’s still a big effort.
18, 19ab Mars M Tables
The Mars M Tables is a great opportunity for a good photo in front of the house. The giant M is a set up fence before the two big tables on a four-stride right hand turn. I don’t think these will be influential, but it will be another big energy sapping effort and as I am writing this, it is still raining and that could be very important.
20.World Horse Welfare Jetty
The World Horse Welfare Jetty has been here for three years now and always looks fantastic with the sun glinting off the water that runs along the top. Let’s hope it’s the same this week.
21ab, 22. Badminton Lake
The Badminton Lake has this year taken on a new look. There is a big corner 30 meters or so before an upright set of natural rails with a big drop into the water, followed by another corner in the water. One of the crucial things to know about this fence is the rails into the water are MIM clipped, so they will break if a horse leaves a leg on them. The first corner is enormous but has jumped well when we have used it in other jumps. It is a sort of set up fence to the rails. The riders will need to collect their horses together in to a nice short canter, then jump the rails with plenty of energy. The 90% turn before the rails should help set up the canter. Then they go in a straight line to the big corner in the water. There is a slower route to this, but the problem is still the same at the rails. A very good show jumping canter is needed for both the quick and slow route rails into the water. It just depends if you prefer the big drop or the downhill rails with a more extreme angle to the corner. There is also a slow route to the corner in the water, but this route will take a while
23. Project Pony Splash
The Project Pony Splash is another dip through the water but with a really inviting brush out. This should be a simple jump.
24. Beaufort Brush Box
The Beaufort Brush Box is a big straight forward fence. It will be here, as the horses start the gentle climb to Huntsman Close, that the riders will be starting to assess how much energy their horses have got left and making a plan to get home.
25. ab Voltaire Design Huntsmans Close
The Voltaire Design Huntsmans Close has two big open rail corners this year. They are both 90% corners with quite a few strides in between. They would hardly be worthy of 5 star status if they were at the start of the course when the horses were fresh but after nearly 10 minutes of galloping they could be a problem as they again have a MIM clip so a good jump is needed at both. There is a nice slow route here and we might see some taking this just to get home.
26. Jubilee Clump Brush
The Jubilee Clump Brush has been used before but only as the second element of a combination. This time it stands by itself. Imagine your galloping with only seven fences between you and the finish but every second counts if your going to get placed, do you take the risk and go inside the tree or take 7 seconds more and go around. I’m sure some will live to regret whichever decision they make.
27ab. HorseQuest Quarry
The HorseQuest Quarry is the two walls on the banks of the old quarry. It has been jumped many times in its current form, but with a steep slope down after the first wall and steep climb up to the second it is not to be underestimated. There is a slow route here as well, but I can’t see many taking it as it is a long way around.
28. ab Brewers Drays
The Brewers Drays are two plank parallels. Again, these are MIM clipped so will invoke 11 penalties if hit so hard that the fence collapses. I have gone to this kind of fence several times in the last part of this course. I want to make sure that the riders are really staying focused. Taking time and making sure they don’t leave their Badminton clear on the third last fence.
29. Rolex Pheasant Log
The Rolex Pheasant Log has been used a few times before on the road crossing before the arena. It is a maximum height log that has to be taken on a bit of an angle but has jumped well in the past.
30. Coronation Finale
The Coronation Finale has moved this year. We have moved it from its traditional place on the turn in the middle of the arena to just after the entrance to the arena, almost parallel to the first fence. It will give the horses a bit more time to pull up before getting to the collecting ring.
I hope you enjoy the course whether you are walking or riding. It has been great fun to design and I would like to thank the whole team at Badminton for all your help throughout the last few years. Most of all I hope everyone has fun and stays safe.