Badminton Horse Trials

The Badminton Horse Trials is a five-day event, one of only seven annual Concours Complet International (CCI) Five Star events as classified by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI). It takes place in May each year in the park of Badminton House, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort in South Gloucestershire, England.

Badminton Horse Trials
Badminton Horse Trials 2015
Begins8 May 2024
Ends12 May 2024[1]
Location(s)Badminton Park
Years active75
Organised byJane Tuckwell



Badminton was first held in 1949 by the 10th Duke of Beaufort in order to let British riders train for international events, and was advertised as "the most important horse event in Britain". It was the second three-day event held in Britain, with the first being its inspiration – the 1948 Summer Olympics. The first Badminton had 22 horses from Britain and Ireland start, and was won by Golden Willow. Eight of the 22 starters failed to complete the cross-country course. Badminton was the home of the first European Championship in 1953, won by Major Laurence Rook on Starlight XV. In 1955, Badminton moved to Windsor Castle for a year, at the invitation of the Queen, in order to hold the second European Championships. Badminton was first televised in 1956.

In 1959, Badminton was held in two sections, called the Great and Little Badminton, due to the popularity of the event and the number of entries. The horses in the two sections jumped the same fences, but were separated into the two divisions based on their money winnings. This graded approach was abandoned after the 1965 event.[3] In 1989, the current director and course-designer Hugh Thomas, who rode in the 1976 Montreal Olympics,[4] took over from Francis Weldon, a former winner,[5] who is credited with bringing the event to the pinnacle it is at today.

Badminton is held in the six-square-kilometre (1,500-acre) grounds of the Badminton Estate in South Gloucestershire (UK),[6] where the car parks, tradestands, arena and cross-country courses are located.

Badminton has been cancelled on several occasions. In 1966, 1975, 1987, 2001, 2012, 2020 and 2021 the event was cancelled completely, and in 1963 it was downgraded to a one-day event due to bad weather. In 2001 it was cancelled due to foot and mouth disease,[7] in 2012 due to waterlogged ground,[8] and in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9][10]

In 2024, Badminton celebrated it 75th anniversary with many of the worlds best competitors competing for a record prize money of £117,600.[11] The event was won by New Zealand's Caroline Powell riding Greenacres Special Cavalier[12] which is an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare owned by Chris Mann.[13][failed verification]



Together with the five-star rated Kentucky Three-Day Event and the Burghley Horse Trials, Badminton forms the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. Only two people have ever won the Grand Slam; Pippa Funnell in 2003 and Michael Jung in 2015/16. Australian Andrew Hoy nearly took the title in 2007 but lost it when he had a pole down at Burghley.[14][full citation needed] The remaining CCI***** rated events are the Luhmühlen Horse Trials, the Australian International Three Day Event, the Stars of Pau and the Maryland Five Star at Fairhill.

The cross-country day at Badminton attracts crowds of up to a quarter of a million and is the second largest in the world for money made (after the Indianapolis 500).[15][16]


2011 winners Mark Todd and NZB Land Vision at the Quarry during the cross-country phase
Paul Tapner and Inonothing, the winning combination at Badminton Horse Trials 2010, at The Lake during the cross-country phase
Year Rider Horse Notes
1949   John Shedden (GBR) Golden Willow
1950   Tony Collins (GBR) Remus
1951   Hans Schwarzenbach (SUI) Vae Victis
1952   Mark Darley (GBR) Emily Little
1953   Laurence Rook (GBR) Starlight
1954   Margaret Hough (GBR) Bambi V
1955   Francis Weldon (GBR) Kilbarry Event held at Windsor
1956   Francis Weldon (GBR) Kilbarry
1957   Sheila Wilcox (GBR) High and Mighty
1958   Sheila Wilcox (GBR) High and Mighty
1959   Sheila Wilcox-Waddington (GBR) Airs and Graces Little Badminton
1959   Shelagh Kesler (GBR) Double Diamond
1960   Bill Roycroft (AUS) Our Solo
1960   Martin Whiteley (GBR) Peggoty Little Badminton
1961   Laurie Morgan (AUS) Salad Days
1961   Peter Welch (GBR) Mr. Wilson Little Badminton
1962   Anneli Drummond-Hay (GBR) Merely-a-Monarch
1962   Penny Crofts (GBR) Priam Little Badminton
1963 No Major Event Event downgraded due to weather
1964   James Templer (GBR) M'Lord Connolly
1964   Sheila Waddington (GBR) Glenamoy Little Badminton
1965   Eddie Boylan (IRL) Durlas Eile
1965   Martin Whiteley (GBR) The Poacher Little Badminton
1966 No Event Cancelled due to weather
1967   Celia Ross-Taylor (GBR) Jonathan
1968   Jane Bullen (GBR) Our Nobby
1969   Richard Walker (GBR) Pasha
1970   Richard Meade (GBR) The Poacher
1971   Mark Phillips (GBR) Great Ovation
1972   Mark Phillips (GBR) Great Ovation
1973   Lucinda Prior-Palmer (GBR) Be Fair
1974   Mark Phillips (GBR) Great Ovation
1975 No Event Cancelled due to weather
1976   Lucinda Prior-Palmer (GBR) Wide Awake
1977   Lucinda Prior-Palmer George
1978   Jane Holderness-Roddam (GBR) Warrior
1979   Lucinda Prior-Palmer (GBR) Killaire
1980   Mark Todd (NZL) Southern Comfort III
1981   Mark Phillips (GBR) Lincoln
1982   Richard Meade (GBR) Speculator III
1983   Lucinda Green (GBR) Regal Realm
1984   Lucinda Green (GBR) Beagle Bay
1985   Ginny Holgate (GBR) Priceless
1986   Ian Stark (GBR) Sir Wattie
1987 No Event Cancelled due to weather
1988   Ian Stark (GBR) Sir Wattie Also came second on Glenburnie
1989   Ginny Leng (GBR) Master Craftsman
1990   Nicola McIrvine (GBR) Middle Road
1991   Rodney Powell (GBR) The Irishman II
1992   Mary Thomson (GBR) King William
1993   Ginny Leng (GBR) Welton Houdini
1994   Mark Todd (NZL) Horton Point
1995   Bruce Davidson (USA) Eagle Lion
1996   Mark Todd (NZL) Bertie Blunt
1997   David O'Connor (USA) Custom Made
1998   Chris Bartle (GBR) Word Perfect II
1999   Ian Stark (GBR) Jaybee
2000   Mary King (GBR) Star Appeal
2001 No Event Cancelled due to foot and mouth epidemic
2002   Pippa Funnell Supreme Rock
2003   Pippa Funnell (GBR) Supreme Rock Won as the second leg of winning the Grand Slam of Eventing
2004   William Fox-Pitt (GBR) Tamarillo
2005   Pippa Funnell (GBR) Primmore's Pride
2006   Andrew Hoy (AUS) Moonfleet
2007   Lucinda Fredericks (AUS) Headley Britannia
2008   Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) Hildago de L'Ile
2009   Oliver Townend (GBR) Flint Curtis
2010   Paul Tapner (AUS) Inonothing
2011   Mark Todd (NZL) NZB Land Vision
2012 No Event Cancelled due to weather
2013   Jonathan Paget (NZL) Clifton Promise
2014   Sam Griffiths (AUS) Paulank Brockagh
2015   William Fox-Pitt (GBR) Chilli Morning
2016   Michael Jung (GER) La Biosthetique-Sam Won as the final leg of winning the Grand Slam of Eventing
2017   Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Nereo
2018   Jonelle Price (NZL) Classic Moet
2019   Piggy French (GBR) Vanir Kamira First year of CCI5* designation
2020 No Event Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021 No Event Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2022   Laura Collett (GBR) London 52
2023   Rosalind Canter (GBR) Lordships Graffalo
2024   Caroline Powell (NZL) Greenacres Special Cavalier

Warnings and sanctions


Yellow Warning Cards are sanctions issued by the FEI to riders for abusive behavior, unsafe riding, or potentially dangerous practices such as excessively whipping a horse or pushing on with an exhausted horse. If a rider receives a second Yellow Warning Card within a year, they are suspended from competing in FEI sanctioned competitions for two months. More Yellow Warning Cards are issued in the sport of eventing than for other FEI sports.[17]

Yellow Warning Cards issued at Badminton Horse Trials include:[18]

  • 2011: Jrina Giesswein (SUI) for dangerous riding - continuing after three clear refusals, a fall, or any form of elimination
  • 2011: Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch (CAN) for dangerous riding - not following the instructions of the officials
  • 2013: Manuel Grave (POR) for dangerous riding - pressing a tired horse
  • 2016: Alice Dunsdon (GBR) for dangerous riding - continuing after three clear refusals, a fall, or any form of elimination
  • 2017: Elisa Wallace (USA) for abuse of horse - riding an exhausted horse
  • 2022: Mollie Summerland (GBR) for abuse of horse - excessive use of whip, bit and/or spurs
  • 2022: Maxime Livio (FRA) for dangerous riding - pressing a tired horse; and one for incorrect behaviour the prior month
  • 2023: Oliver Townend (GBR) for dangerous riding - series of dangerous jumps. After clipping a fence, rider was asked to pull up by the ground jury and was eliminated.[19]
  • 2024: Florian Ganneval (FRA) for dangerous riding - series of dangerous jumps


Kitty King (GBR) falls from Vendredi Biats during the 2019 Badminton Horse Trials

Eventing is considered one of the most dangerous of equestrian sports. In its history, there have been periods when there were many rider deaths. The FEI and advocates of the sport have been working to reduce the dangers including the use of protective equipment and redesigning jumps and courses to reduce falls and injuries to horses and riders.[20]

An example of dangerous course conditions at Bandminton happened in 2007 when after a long period without rain, the ground was considered to be too hard, resulting in 22 withdrawals.[21] Another example was in 2011 when only seven out of 76 starters crossed the finish line without penalties on the cross country phase, and 11 riders fell.[22]

Below are some of the serious injuries and fatalities that have happened at Bandminton.

Rider injuries

  • 2003: Anna Hassö [sv] (SWE) broke her pelvis[23] and was airlifted to hospital after her horse Son of a Bitch fell on top of her into the water.[24]
  • 2008: Rider Dee Kennedy (GBR) was hospitalized for several days after falling from Big El during the cross-country portion of the event.[25]
  • 2011: Ingrid Klimke (GER) was hospitalized when she fell off of Butts Abraxxas at fence 24.[26]
  • 2011: Elizabeth Power (IRL) was hospitalized after she fell from her horse Kilpatrick River at fence 16, the Sunken Road, and was knocked unconscious. Power was airlifted to Bristol's Frenchay Hospital.[27][22]
  • 2017: Rider Emily Gilruth (UK) suffered a traumatic brain injury during a fall from her horse Topwood Beau during cross country.[28]
  • 2022: Rider Nicola Wilson (UK) suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury when she fell from JL Dublin during the cross country phase of the event. Initially paralyzed from the neck down, she spent four and a half months in hospital before returning home.[29]

Horse casualties

  • 1976: Wideawake ridden by Lucinda Green died of a heart attack on his victory lap.[30]
  • 1992: Face The Music ridden by Mark Todd (NZL) broke his leg in a fall and was subsequently put down.[31]
  • 1992: Briarlands Pippin ridden by William Fox-Pitt (GB) broke his back after a fall and had to be euthanized.[32]
  • 1992: Mr. Maxwell ridden by Karen Lende (USA) was badly injured at obstacle 12 and had to be put down.[33] Mr. Maxwell had been crowned "Horse Of The Year" in 1991 by USEA (United States Eventing Association).[34]
  • 1998: Last Of The Incas ridden by Erica Watson (GB) collapsed at the second-to-last obstacle and died of a suspected heart attack or massive internal bleeding. Last Of The Incas had won the "Best Mare"-prize at Badminton the year before.[35]
  • 2007: Skwal ridden by Andrew Downes died of a suspected heart attack in the finishing ring [36]
  • 2007: Icare d'Auzay ridden by Jean-Lou Bigot died after a fence flag marker pole pierced an artery.[36]
  • 2010: Desert Island ridden by Louisa Lockwood, euthanised after breaking a fetlock.[37][20]
  • 2011: Mandiba ridden by Karen O'Connor (USA) broke six ribs when he fell off the Outlander Bank during the cross country phase of the event, and went through a rehabilitation period for many months.[38][39]
  • 2017: Shanghai Joe ridden by Shane Rose (AUS) was euthanized after fracturing his shoulder. The horse fell at fence 19 during the cross country portion of the event, got up and galloped back to the stabling area, where he slipped and fell once more.[40][41]
  • 2018: Redpath Ransom ridden by Alexander Bragg was euthanized after suffering a major injury to a suspensory ligament during cross country, unrelated to a jump.[42]
  • 2023: WSF Carthago ridden by Fiona Kashel was euthanized after sustaining an injury incurred while falling on the cross country course.[43][44]


Ruth Edge of Great Britain and Muschamp Impala fall at the water jump in 2008
  • 2008: Two horses fell during the cross-country portion of the event: Moonfleet ridden by Andrew Hoy (AUS) and Muschamp Impala ridden by Ruth Edge (GBR).[25]
  • 2011: Louise Skelton (GBR) and her horse Partly Pickled fell at fence 16, the Sunken Road; Oliver Townend (GBR) and his horse Ashdale Cruise Master both fell at fence 27.[26]
  • 2023: Izzy Taylor (GBR) and Graf Cavalier fell at the KBIS brush, Kitty King (GBR) and Vendredi Biats fell at the giant log pile, and Caroline Clarke (GBR) fell off her horse Touch Too Much at fence 11.[46]


  1. ^ "Badminton Horse Trials 8th – 12th May". Badminton Estate. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Visitor Information". Badminton Horse Trials. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  3. ^ History Archived 6 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine History of Badminton
  4. ^ "Hugh Thomas". British Olympic Association. Archived from the original on 25 February 2010.
  5. ^ Wheldon Winner Archived 24 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine Previous Winners
  6. ^ "Badminton Horse Trials 8th - 12th May". Badminton Estate. Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  7. ^ Dates of Cancellations Archived 24 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine Cancellation Dates
  8. ^ "Potters Bar held to a goalless draw at Leyton". Exmouth Journal. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Cancellation Statement". Badminton Horse Trials. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Badminton Horse Trials: Covid-19 restrictions force 2021 event to be cancelled". BBC Sport. 1 March 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Badminton celebrates 75 years". Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  12. ^ "Caroline Powell wins at Badminton as William Fox-Pitt bows out". BBC Sport. 12 May 2024. Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  13. ^ "Badminton Horse Trials | Caroline Powell". Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  14. ^ FEI Eventing Page FEI Eventing Page.
  15. ^ Visitor Numbers Badminton Visitor Numbers[dead link]
  16. ^ Tyzack, Anna (30 April 2010). "Badminton Horse Trials: One Jump Ahead". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 May 2010.
  17. ^ Dillon, Christa (19 May 2023). "FEI disciplinary processes highest in eventing". The Irish Field.
  18. ^ "Warning cards - Discipline = Eventing". FEI. Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  19. ^ Wright, Melissa (11 May 2023). "FEI Disciplines Oliver Townend For Dangerous Riding At Badminton - The Chronicle of the Horse". Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  20. ^ a b van Gilder Cooke, Sonia (28 July 2012). "Equestrian Eventing: The Olympics' Most Dangerous Sport?". TIME.
  21. ^ Barnes, Simon (5 May 2007). "Phillips puts the welfare of her horse first and withdraws". The Times. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008.
  22. ^ a b "Badminton Horse Trials Day Four: Power remains in hospital after fall". Wiltshire Times. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  23. ^ "Badminton Hightlights 2003". Badminton TV. Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  24. ^ "Sportslines : Better day for Irish at Badminton". Irish Independent. 3 May 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  25. ^ a b "HSBC FEI Classics 2008 - Press release no. 4". FEI. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  26. ^ a b "Todd is Back in Pole Position in Closest ever Finale at Badminton". FEI. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  27. ^ "Power kept in hospital after Badminton fall". RTE News. 25 April 2011.
  28. ^ "Emily Gilruth: Rider recovering at home after Badminton Horse Trials fall". BBC Sport. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  29. ^ Jones, Eleanor (21 December 2023). "'This injury steals so much' but inspirational Nicola Wilson feels 'incredibly lucky' to still work in the sport". Horse & Hound. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  30. ^ "The Badminton Horse Trials - Colour". MovieTone. 18 April 1976.
  31. ^ "Badminton 1992 Highlights". Badminton TV. Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  32. ^ "William Fox-Pitt Falls At The Badminton Horse Trials". Getty Images. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  33. ^ de Wolf, Leon (13 June 2016). "Drie paarden dood in één wedstrijd" [Three horses dead in one race]. NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  34. ^ Mintz, Leslie (7 February 2017). "Trophy Tales: A History of U.S. Eventing Awards – Horse of the Year". Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  35. ^ "Badminton 1998 Highlights". Badminton TV. Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  36. ^ a b "Fredericks retains Badminton lead after cross-country". Horsetalk. 6 May 2009. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008.
  37. ^ "Horse killed on Badminton cross-country". Horsetalk. 3 May 2010. Archived from the original on 18 May 2010.
  38. ^ "Badminton Horse Trials injuries update". Horse & Hound. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  39. ^ O'Connor, Karen (17 February 2012). "Road To The Olympics: Karen O'Connor, Part 1". The Chronicle of the Horse. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  40. ^ Slade, Lisa (11 May 2017). "Shanghai Joe Euthanized After Sustaining Injury At Badminton Horse Trials". The Chronicle of the Horse. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  41. ^ "Shane Rose looses Shanghai Joe". Irish Eventing Times. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2024.
  42. ^ Autry, Jenni (5 May 2018). "Redpath Ransom Euthanized at Badminton Horse Trials". Eventing Nation. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  43. ^ Berendt, Tilly (10 May 2023). "Fiona Kashel's WSF Carthago Euthanized After Badminton Injury - Eventing Nation - Three-Day Eventing News, Results, Videos, and Commentary". Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  44. ^ Wright, Melissa (8 May 2023). "Horse Euthanized After Badminton Cross-Country". The Chronicle of the Horse. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  45. ^ "HRH Princess Anne Falls At Badminton Horse Trials". Getty Images. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2024.
  46. ^ Powell, Abby. "Tough Mudders: Live Updates from 2023 Badminton Cross Country - Eventing Nation - Three-Day Eventing News, Results, Videos, and Commentary". Retrieved 27 May 2024.