Exam time might be on its way, but they're still just far away enough that I could justify taking a whole day off from revising to go to Badminton Horse Trials. It coincided nicely with a housemate's birthday, so we made weather-permitting plans to spend Saturday at the cross country test.
Badminton is one of my favourite horsey days out. I can't remember the first time I went but I know I've been multiple times. It's in South Gloucestershire which isn't too far from Bristol - definitely one of the perks of going to university here!
For those of you who've never heard of Badminton, it's one of the biggest international horse trials and is a competition in the sport of eventing. Last year I wrote about my visit to the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe. Unlike Gatcombe, Badminton is a three-day event, with each discipline (dressage, cross country and showjumping) taking place on a separate day. I've only ever been on cross country day - unfortunately the one year I had booked showjumping tickets it got rained off! Riders represent countries from across the world and it's a great chance to see some of the world's best sportsmen and women.
The only downside to these events is that they take place in the middle of the countryside, with the routes going through small villages not designed for thousands of cars to come at once! We got a bit caught up in traffic, but luckily could put on Radio Badminton to hear how the first few riders out on the course did.
We actually got into the event at about midday and headed to the main arena to find the start of the cross country course. After watching a couple of horses go from the start box and over the first fence, we headed out to follow the rest of the course. The whole course is about 6.5km long, and seeing as we walked almost the whole way round in the sunshine, it's not surprising we were exhausted by the end of the day!
The cross country course is laid out through the grounds of Badminton House and consisted of 31 fences - all of which are huge and definitely not the kind of things I would ever dream of riding at on a horse!
Badminton also has a huge shopping village during the event- we didn't go into the stalls this year because we were too busy trying to catch all the action on the course, but for anyone thinking of visiting, I would definitely recommend having a look round. There are also plenty of food and drink stands - I opted for a vegetarian bean burger for lunch, but the choice and variety of food gets better year on year.
It's also an amazing event for dog spotting - I think there was probably one of every breed present on cross country day! Dogs are very welcome at the event, so long as they are kept on leads and are well behaved.
|The score board at the end of cross country day|
|Best way to avoid the traffic jams? Arrive in your plane... one day I'll get to do this|
It's so nice to get out of the flat and out of working mode and a day trip to Badminton was the perfect way to spend a Saturday. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!