So over the last few days I've been surfing around the web looking at the reviews and opinion from Badminton and noticed some chat (and a H&H article) about how some riders from the main event were complaining about the Grassroots Championship disrupting the main Badminton event.
A little surprisingly perhaps, 'The Captain' (Mark Phillips) seemed to disagree and thought it all rather jolly, although he admitted not going over to watch.
I have to say I thought this was an excellent decision to include this in the Badminton schedule and perhaps one of the only ways in which the top end of the sport really gives back to the grassroots that feeds it.
Now it's all too easy for all of us on the sidelines to sit in judgement on what should have been done or isn't being done, but give Badminton its due, they did run the grassroots cross country through the main deer park and even through the lake, albeit a toe in the water.
Given this, I was a little surprised that Showjumping and Dressage was run outside the main show ground next to the airfield! It would have been great to see these two phases run on the main showground, though perhaps not in the main area. In front of the House perhaps, as the first Badminton's were, and I think a trot-up would be a welcome addition too.
Unlike Mark Phillips, I did manage to make it over to the Grassroots 'camp' and whilst it did look like any other one day event, there really was an excitable buzz around the stables, secretaries tent, and warm up areas. I just thought it was a bit of shame this area hadn't been given the "Badminton treatment", in fact you'd probably see a better presentation of a one day at, say, Highclere.
What many of these 4* riders fast forget is a lot of the money that goes into providing the infrastructure that gives them a living and chance to compete in the upper levels comes from a large audience of Grassroots riders, so they really should be more welcoming and accommodating. What's not surprising perhaps is the people who complained! Karma's a wonderful thing, sometimes in the form of a lake!
Well done Badminton for supporting the Grassroots, and I suppose I shouldn't grumble as it's perfectly acceptable that they would need to test the water a little with integrating such an event in the main Badminton Extravaganza!
As for the whingers, need I say more....