How the 2024 course is riding

Wednesday 7th - 11th May 2025

How the 2024 course is riding

There have been some great early rounds at this year’s MARS Badminton Horse Trials. The pathfinder, Tom Jackson on the first of his two rides Farndon, jumped a beautiful round, injecting confidence in the riders watching on the screens in the Rider Tent. Tom was 36 seconds over time picking up 14.4 time penalties but will undoubtedly move up from his overnight 17th place.

‘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 – hopefully I will be nearer the time with my second horse [Capels Hollow Drift].’

Caroline Powell did not share Tom’s good fortune. CBI Aldo, the youngest horse in the field at only nine, did look somewhat out of her depth, picking up an early run out at the second element of the Voltaire Design Huntsmans Close (fence 7). The pair had another runout at the INEOS Grenadier Sunken Road (fence 20) and retired.

Tom Rowland restored confidence with a clear round on Dreamliner, saying: ‘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.’

Also clear was the next combination, Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance but one of the favourites, Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF, had a couple of run outs towards the end of the course. Boyd explained: ‘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.’ Boyd does, however, have his first Badminton cross-country completion.

Several frangible pins came down in the early part of the day. Sam Watson broke one at the lake and another at the Vicarage Vee, while second placed Bubby Upton’s Cola brought one down at The Agria Silver Birch Rails (fence 21). A slightly disappointed Bubby said: ‘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.’

It’s safe to say, the leaderboard is getting a good shake up.