The organisers of the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (2-6 May) have a new host in the recently acceded 12th Duke of Beaufort, Harry Somerset. Harry has always taken an active role in the Event and knows many of the team, who are very grateful for the estate’s continued support.
Last year’s rookie course designer, Eric Winter, came in with such enthusiasm that he had pretty well mapped out his next reversed track as he was designing his debut. Much of the earthworks were completed before Christmas.
When Badminton first ran in 1949 it billed itself as The Most Important Horse Event in Great Britain. It is now the most important event of its type in the world and attracts a field of 80 of the best all round athletes, both human and equine, to take on the ultimate challenge in the sport. Great Britain are reigning European champions, eventually back at the top after some years of German domination and 2018 sees the World Equestrian Games, so many national selectors will be using Badminton as a pointer to their choices.
Many of the 160,000 fans start making early plans, and the Priority Box Office opened on January 3rd, while the Main Box Office opens for business on Wednesday January 10th. The caravan park now has over 1,000 pitches and many local hostelries get quickly booked up on repeat business.
The tented trading village continues to expand with over 500 outlets including a new World of Food and Wine and a vast range of catering possibilities from a ‘ posh lunch ‘ in the Members Enclosure, the Relish Deli Wine Bar and fast and street food of all types.
For 2018 the Media Centre is to have a revamp with an exterior stage to enable the end of play interviews to be held on a public stage close to the scoreboards. The public will be encouraged to ask the riders questions either in person or by text. On other technical fronts public WiFi access is to be expanded and the website, www.badminton-horse.co.uk, will be optimised for mobiles.