With the first major UK event of the season (Badminton Horse Trials) almost upon us, I suppose the season must be in full swing. The clocks have brought us into British Summer Time, the grass is already sprouting fresh green shoots and William Fox-Pitt has started boring us with his usual benign comment in his Horse & Hound column! - The 2008 season is truly underway.
Whilst on the subject of Badminton, I notice Hugh Thomas is still getting the odd ball out of left field over last year's ground conditions. What a complete over reaction! April 2007 produced almost zero rain in much of the UK, and considering Badminton is famous for it's mud (and not for it's therapeutic qualities), it was particularly exceptional weather conditions.
Hard ground is far less of an issue for horses than the deep or slippery conditions that can often be experienced this early or late in the season. Certainly our friends from over the pond didn't have a problem running their horses, and even one of the biggest critics decided to run and won! If they'd have had a wait list last year I wonder how many on that list would have criticised fellow riders for waiting until after dressage to withdraw, thus taking away an opportunity for them to run.
All that being said there have obviously been some significant re-investments down at Badminton, on the going, the whole event and a flashy new website providing even more content than in earlier years.
I have it on good authority that for those unable to make it down to Gloucestershire this May the website will provide a huge amount of video, audio and other content to satisfy our insatiable appetite for instant information.
Judging by the course walk preview presented by the esteemed Mike Tucker the 2008 course will bring no new surprises, except maybe getting your feet wet slightly earlier on the course. Many of the same questions are posed in the old familiar places on the course. Time for a little change down in the park me thinks! Still it's more of a flowing course than you find in many of the Mike E-S designed courses at least.
I for one will certainly be looking forward to Badminton and all it's trappings.........who knows maybe I'll even report from the ground so to speak.