2024 Cross Country Course

Eric Winter’s course design

Take a fascinating interactive tour with four time Badminton winner Mark Todd and course designer Eric Winter. Filmed walk-throughs, drone flyovers, photos, audio, intelligent direct and alternative routes and statistics.

Click any fence to start. Best viewed in full screen mode.

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.


2024 is a big year for Badminton Horse Trials as it is the 75th running of the event. 75 years of the best horses and riders in the world, gathering at the Badminton Estate to test their skills in dressage, cross-country and show jumping. The cross-country phase, as with most things over a 75 year period, has changed quite a bit.

If you visit the anniversary museum, you will see pictures of the cross-country fences in the early years. The courses were much longer then and there was a strong element of endurance with roads, tracks, and steeple chase phases. The actual fences and level of test in the cross-country phase has never been more difficult than it is today. With the reduction in the distance on the cross-country phase, while keeping the same number of jumping efforts, the courses of this era come up thick and fast with much less time for a breather before the next giant test. As the Course Designer, I am looking for a balance of providing a world class test of the horse and riders courage and skill whilst not making it too hard for those who are developing at this level. This is not a science, it is an art. There are no trial runs, we don’t send riders and their horses out to jump the fences beforehand. When the first horse of the day leaves the start box and sets out to jump around the 2024 course it will be, for me the fruition of a year’s work.

Fence by Fence Illustrations

Artwork of the fences is by Caroline Bromley-Gardner.

1. Spillers Starter

We start off over the Spillers Starter, followed by

2. The 75th anniversary Haywain, and

3. The Tortworth Brush Mound. These are all fairly simple fences to let the nerves of the riders settle and the horses to get into a nice rhythm.

4. AB & 5 HorseQuest Quarry Feeders

The HorseQuest Quarry Feeders is a very big fence with the first element being 1.20 high with a 1.80 top spread followed by a steep slope down to the narrow hay feeders. The riders can choose either feeder in the bottom and then will ride up out of the quarry to the very narrow feeder at the top of the bank.

This fence is probably a bit easier than previous quarry fences as, although it is big with steep banks it has quite a bit of distance between the actual elements giving plenty of time to reorganise if a mistake is made.

6. Bloomfields Brush Boxes

The Bloomfields Brush Boxes  is made from 2 maximum 1.45 high brush ovals, with a choice of going inside or outside of the tree. Outside the tree offers more flow between the fences although a more uncomfortable turn after the second element. Inside the tree takes more time to set up and find the line but a nicer route out. The inside route will be a few seconds quicker if ridden well.

7. ABCD Voltaire Designs Huntsman’s Close

The Voltaire Designs Huntsman’s Close, is probably one of the biggest questions on the course. I think some dreams of lifting the Badminton trophy will be left in tatters here. It is a big open parallel bar followed by a turn through the trees to a left open corner to a right open corner. The more you accept the angle of the middle corner, the easier it will make the last one. The key is a good jump over the middle corner. There is a slow route which should be no problem but will cost time.

8. Pedigree Kennel

The Pedigree Kennel is a big table but should act as a breather fence.



9. Lightsource bp Log

The Lightsource bp Log jumps into the house end of the lake. Although it’s a big jump, we have used it before and it’s caused minimal problems.

10.ABCD MARS Badminton Lake

Our generous new Title Sponsor Mars have the Badminton Lake this year.  It is an interesting and very different question to previous years. I have built a 1.20 high palisade at the top of the bank down to the water. This has a new type of deformable device fitted using the MIM system, if a horse makes a mistake and jumps badly over the first element it will fold out of the way, giving them eleven penalties but hopefully preventing the fall. Next is an acute bending line to the second element, a brush corner in the water. The more the riders trust their horse to jump the corner on an angle, the easier it will make the enormous narrow brush on the way out. The brush is only 40cm wide at the front and has a 2 meter base spread.  So the more risk they take over the corner the straighter they can ride the line between the elements, and the easier it should be for the horse to understand. There is a slower route here that won’t take that much longer but does involve jumping a double of narrow brushes on the way out, using more energy and still involving a certain amount of risk.

The next four fences should allow the horses to get back into a rhythm.

11. World Horse Welfare Waterfall

This is a favourite of mine.

12. Joules Tables

The Joules Tables, where they can jump left or right, leaving it as a personal choice.

13. KBIS Broken Bridge

The infamous KBIS Broken Bridge. A leap of faith at the end of the bridge over the large gaping hole, with a maximum 2 meter drop, always a crowd pleaser. Just kick on.

14. BEF Fund Triple Bar

Another enormous spread, the BEF Fund Triple Bar. Although very big this is considered a let-up fence at this level.

15. ABC LeMieux Eyelash Brushes

The LeMieux Eyelash Brushes are a completely new fence that many of the horses and rider will not have seen the likes of in their careers so far. An angled 1.45 high brush followed by a wide ditch full of water which they have to jump on an angle to another angled 1.45 high hedge. The horses and riders must stay straight here. The difficult bit is that the ditch in the middle will come as a bit of a surprise to the horses and this brings in a degree of unpredictability as to how this will ride, even for the most experienced combinations.

16. Countryside Brush Oxer

The Countryside Brush Oxer is a let up between two of the biggest combinations on the course.

17AB & 18 Mars Sustainability Bay

The Mars Sustainability Bay. An upright deformable rail, one stride to a narrow 1.30 step down into the water then up the steep bank on the far side to the narrow log. The log at 18 looks to be set at an impossible angle when you stand at the first element. I am not saying that it is easy but as the horses come up the bank it becomes clearer. These fences are separately numbered so if they choose to take the slower route they can flow around the back of the last element and not incur penalties.

19. Somerset Open Ditch

The truly massive ditch in front of the big brush at the Somerset Open Ditch  should give a great flying feeling for both horses and riders.

20.ABC INEOS Grenadier Sunken Road

The INEOS Grenadier Sunken Road is a narrow brush roll top at the top of a steep bank, followed by 3 strides to a step up, and then a one-horse stride to another narrow brush roll top. The riders and horses need to keep their concentration here. It will be easy to run past one of these brushes.

21. Agria Silver Birch Rails

The Agria Silver Birch Rails are two sets of upright silver birch rails set at the far side of a big dip. The left set are slightly smaller but set on the very edge of the bank up, the right set are a little larger but set back from the lip of the bank. Again, it is personal choice. It will be interesting during the day as to which set become the preferred route.

22,23 Rolex Grand Slam Rails

The Rolex Grand Slam Rails, over the maximum 3 meter wide ditch is a real ‘kick on’ fence.

24 & 25 Holland Cooper Vicarage V

The iconic Holland Cooper Vicarage V. This fence was originally designed by Colonel Frank Weldon many years ago and is still as relevant a jumping test today as it was years ago. It still requires great scope to jump the big ditch and true accuracy to jump close to the red flag without running out.

26. ABCD Lightsource bp Mound

The Lightsource bp Mound, is a new play on an old friend here at Badminton. This year, we have put a big step on the big bank at the old sunken road. From the top it looks like a huge drop off the edge of the world. After the drop the quick route is to bear right to the two brush stumps out of the hollow. Some horses will leap off the top and some will climb down much more sedately, this makes the number of horse strides and how to ride the brush stumps difficult to predict. This is a ride by the seat of your pants combination. It is probably my one to watch recommendation

27. Wiltshire Brewers’ Drays

The Wiltshire Brewers’ Drays, which this year consists of one massive log pile, or two smaller ones. The big log pile here has the biggest top spread of any fence on the course.

28.ABC Worcester Avenue Brushes

The Worcester Avenue Brushes. Three brushes all jumped on an acute angle down the hill. The riders can choose to play it safe and take a bit more time to snake around the brush houses but this will take time. They are only 3 fences from home here. If they’re up or down on the clock this might affect their decision at this fence.

29. Sound Gates

The Sound Gates. This is really a speed bump. This upright gate on top of a small bump should really be respected. A bad jump here will break the deformable device and give them a very expensive 11 penalties.

30. ABC Savills Keeper’s Curve

The riders and their horses are nearly home by the time they get to fence 30ABC, Savills Keeper’s Curve. For the first time we have come across the car park and missed out the section of undulating ground around the staircase. This should give the horses a smoother and less tiring route home. Either two big open parallels or an open parallel to a double of rails. There is not much time difference between both routes, it will depend on the fuel left in the tank. I expect most will jump the two parallels.

31. Rolex Brush Roll

The second last fence is the Rolex Brush Roll.  Nearly home, don’t lose concentration.

32. Mars M

The Mars M is in the arena as the last fence this year. Most years at Badminton we see someone get a bit over excited and not respect the last fence enough to their detriment. Let’s hope this does not happen this year. It will be a great feeling to get this one out of the way.

Badminton’s course for 2024 is quite different from previous years. You will see some new routes and bits of ground mixed up with some of the old traditional parts of the course. I am really looking forward to Saturday when we get to see how it works out.