The winner of this year’s Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian, will take home a magnificent new trophy, created by the award-winning animal sculptor Judy Boyt and using materials from the Duke of Beaufort’s Badminton estate.
Judy, who has the distinction of sculpting both present-day Badminton trophies, three decades apart (she created the three-discipline Mitsubishi Motors trophy for 1992), has had a long wait to unveil this new work. She was commissioned in September 2019 and had been racing to finish it, working one-handed as the result of a bout of shingles, when the pandemic hit.
“It’s been a huge honour and I’m very lucky, I know I am,” she said, “but it has been hard keeping it a secret for two years and I am so pleased that everyone can see it now.
“We very much wanted to keep a link to the previous trophy, so you will see that it is again three horses, performing the three eventing disciplines [of dressage, cross-country and show jumping], but with up-to-date tack and equipment. For instance, the dressage and show jumping horses are wearing ear muffs and I have re-created the modern stirrups and boots. I’ve had to do a lot of research!”
In keeping with the Horse Trials’ sustainability aims, the silver used for the trophy includes pieces from Badminton House, which were added to the mix, and the plinth, which allows plenty of space for future winners, was made by Marc Stevenson of Stevenson Brothers Rocking Horses, using timber from an old oak tree in the Badminton park.
Another important touch, which preserves the link with the past and evokes the history of Badminton, is that all the winners’ names — from John Sheddon in 1949 to Piggy French (now March) 70 years later in 2019 — are archived in a secret drawer within the plinth. ‘We didn’t want the past winners to be forgotten,” explained Judy. “It was very important to preserve the link with the past and with Badminton Estate.”
The trophy was brought to Badminton for the draw, which took place today. Around 80 combinations are expected to start, with Britain’s Harry Meade riding either Tenareze or Cavalier Crystal first into the dressage arena on Thursday, May 5.