Cross Country Day Rider Reactions

Wednesday 7th - 11th May 2025

Cross Country Day Rider Reactions

Tom Jackson, pictured (Farndon, 47.4): ‘All credit to the horse. If you’d told me a couple of years ago I’d be here, i would never have believed it. he’s not the quickest horse in the world [36 seconds over time] – hopefully I will be nearer the time with my second horse [Capels Hollow Drift].’

Tom Rowland (Dreamliner, 49.3): ‘I wanted to be quick and Dreamliner is a very fast horse with an amazing gallop. The ground is sticky, but he has finished well. I wanted to do well enough to have an interview with Clare Balding [on the BBC] so that is one ambition fulfilled. Dreamliner found the Vicarage Vee area twisty – with my second horse, I may make a new plan.’

Boyd Martin (Tsetserleg, USA, 113.8): ‘I was going great guns at first and perhaps was hunting around too much. I saw a terrible turn off the skinny – for anyone watching, it was an error of judgement. He’s a good old horse and he would have made it – it was rider error.’

Felix Vogg (Cartania, SUI, 43.4): ‘I was sitting on a really great mare. She went well last year and I thought she would handle it even though it’s a totally different course this year. Being the next Swiss rider to win Badminton is my goal – to win is a huge thing and a big milestone. I don’t think we are near that yet, but I don’t have a problem with winning it. I take from everyone a little bit of something – I have trained with Boyd Martin and Michael Jung and I walked the course here with the Prices – it is a huge group of people that has helped me.’

Zara Tindall (Class Affair, 55.6): ‘He’s such a good jumper, but he’s tricky and he comes off the bridle – I’m like “not now!” He’s a little horse. I am blowing a lot but when you get it done it feels such an achievement. If you fought for it, it was there. My horse hates people so galloping around in front of those crowds is another aspect, but it’s because he’s quirky that he is good.’

Bubby Upton (Cola, 53.9): ‘First of all ,I am so proud of my horse. He never failed to give me his absolute all. He is an absolute machine and he has proved it time and time again. I am gutted about the pin [11 penalties] – he just got in too close. It’s one of those things. The support and the love I have felt over the last eight months [since my accident] has been unbelievably touching. The comments on my instagram are enough to make me well up. It’s pretty special.’

Georgie Goss (Feloupe, IRL, 62.6): ‘She was an absolute star and pulled it out of the bag for me. It’s my first Badminton for five years and I’ve got a baby so it’s amazing to be here and to have an amazing clear round. I’d say that everyone is hoping for an Olympic spot but she has certainly done herself proud. She is a super jumper and a very very nice horse.’

Sarah Ennis (Grantstown Jackson, IRL, 39.6): ‘I went out with a lot of pressure – one of the fastest horses here at Badminton, blah, blah. But he was incredible. He couldn’t have gone any faster. He burst himself for me. He’s one of those amazing  Irish horses that gets better and better as he goes on. We nearly gave up with him as an 11-year-old and he’s now 13 so it shows that he really wants to do it. He loves this part and can’t gallop fast enough.’

William Fox-Pitt (Grafennacht, 33.0): ‘I was trying very hard. She is an amazing mare, just fabulous. She always says yes. The long route (coming out of the water) – that was my long choice – she was going so well. This will potentially be my last Badminton and I wanted to come home well. My boys would have certainly given me a rollicking if I hadn’t. I am very lucky: I’m 55, I’ve had an amazing time here at Badminton. This is my 26th completion which means I am slotting in nicely behind Andrew [Nicholson] and Toddy [Sir Mark Todd] in completions and I am happy to be in that slot. I probably ought to grow up and get a new habit.’

Tiana Couldray (Cancaras Girl, USA, 60.2): ‘I was looking at Facebook and I saw a post about a green six-year-old. I liked her breeding, she was cheap enough, she’s cute – I thought she was a pretty little mare I would sell to a kid. She was fairly ordinary to ride – her jump wouldn’t knock your socks off – but she was so straight for a young horse. So we picked her up, she never had a huge result to make big money and it didn’t make sense to sell her. Everything is a work in progress, but her heart and her brain has got her here and now she’s a Badminton horse!’

Harry Meade (Away Cruising, 55): ‘He’s an old friend, I’ve had him since he was four. He was going brilliantly but just left a leg at the top of  the bank (fence 26). It’s not often you get a lip on the edge of a drop like that and he wasn’t expecting it. That threw us off our line so I had to do some quick thinking to not cross my tracks, which worked, but we wasted about half an hour!’

Nicky Hill (MGH Bingo Boy, 47.0): ‘My horse is an absolute legend. He’s nifty, I ride him in a rubble snaffle and he doesn’t get strong. This is our third time here and to go into the show jumping phase in the top 10 would be very nice.’

Jonelle Price (Grappa Nera, NZL, 60.2): ‘Badminton is quite a step up for her but she has come home well. Tim [husband, lying third] and I walked the course together and made a plan and so I will now go and give him feedback on how that plan went.’

Lucy Latta (RCA Patron Saint, 37.2): ‘He is truly one of the great cross-country horses out there. He actually isn’t that fast [despite being only one second over time] but he doesn’t pull, he lets me go smoothly to the fences, doesn’t waste time and has the heart of a lion. He doesn’t have two extra gears like a racehorse but he stays galloping. He gave it to me everywhere. He was just unbelievable.’

Emily King (Valmy Biats, IRL 38.0): ‘I wanted to be a little bit up on my minute marker but not interfere with his jumping because he is so bold and gets ahead of himself. Huntsman’s Close was a proper wake-up call. I am so pleased. It doesn’t feel real. For everyone here there has been hours of work behind the scenes – everyone who gets to Badminton works so hard and so to have a round like this is what you dream of.’

Tim Price (Vitali, NZL, 31.7): ‘I think he is the all-round event horse who hasn’t showed it in all three phases yet but he will. He gave everything he had today – he was just class. and his show jumping has been good recently. I think I’ve got a bit of a plan in place. He’s buzzing with fitness and wellness so hopefully that will help tomorrow, but I’m just going to enjoy it for today.’

Gemma Stevens (Chilli Knight) on being given 15 penalties for a flag at Huntsman’s Close: ‘I felt like the horse jumped the fence and everyone says looking from the back he looks as if he jumped it. We will contest the penalties obviously, but it is what it is. He was so feisty early on – I didn’t have that much control, which isn’t normal for him. I couldn’t be as quick as I normally am so it was a bit frustrating, but the horse has recovered really well and that’s all that matters.’

Alex Bragg (Quindiva, 45.2): ‘People see you at these events and they don’t realise the heartache that has gone on. I was nearly in tears coming to the last fence and at this time of day the roads are electric. And then you see the owners and they are in tears. It is amazing and beyond our wildest dreams – she deserves it because she is a real fighter. I’m thrilled.’

Caroline Powell (Greenacres Special Cavalier, 43.2) : ‘She’s a bit of a diva, she loves people and she rises to the occasion. It’s so long since I’ve had a good horse like this.’

Tom Jackson (Capels Hollow Drift, 44.4): ‘I am so excited for Pippa [Funnell, trainer and friend] – I know how nervous she has been all week. My horse is such a trier and he’s really delivered today. There has been a nearly 50% clear round rate today and it’s those great cross-country horses that have shone and that is what we come to Badminton for.’

Pippa Funnell (MCS Maverick, 45.1): ‘This horse only came to me last year and he is an amazing talent – I just have to channel him in the right way. He stood up in front of the ground jury at the horse inspection and he’s been really anxious about coming into centre stage – I had to have a hunt horse to escort me into the field of play.

‘William [Fox-Pitt] is not only a good friend but we talk a lot. It’s a real struggle at our age, we experience so many highs and lows and it can play on our brains. When I heard Oliver [Townend] was out, my money was on William. It would be so brilliant for the sport. I had my big win in 2019 and I really want him to have this.’