|The Moment They Arrive It All Starts To Get Very Serious|
Every year in April I wonder why I do what I do at Badminton, and but come the event I realise why. Every year the website and social media gets busier and busier. It's a full on adrenaline rush - it's hellishly busy, intense and a real buzz.
For me, Badminton starts in January and builds steadily through those first four months of the year, to the point where for one week in early May I hardly have time to think about anything else let alone sleep or eat. I had to apologise to one friend for appearing rude and ignoring her, the fact is it's like no other week of my year, and it takes me (and a few others) a full day or two to recover and get back to 'normal'.
|Cross Country Day Weather Turned The Scoreboard On It's Head|
|It's Not Often Nicholson Walks Off A 4* Track|
The biggest surprise for me was seeing Andrew Nicholson walking home, having failed to complete on both of his horses, and William Fox-Pitt for that matter, as both have previously produced their best results at Badminton in bad weather conditions.
|Paul, Francis & Clark - Top 3 After Dressage|
|Paul & Francis Having Fun With The EN Chinchilla|
|The Tricky 'b' Element (Centre right) Removed|
Not to take anything away from either Pascal Leroy & Tim Price, who made it into the top three after cross country, but I had been really rooting for our dressage top three to made a return for the Saturday evening press conference. Sadly both Francis and Clark had tiring horses and chose to retire towards the end of the course. Such a shame as both were riding so brilliantly.
|Kilronan & Paul Tapner|
|Pippa - All Smiles|
Pippa Funnell had a phenomenal first ride on Billy Beware, a comparative youngster at 4*. I watched her slip heading towards the final corner in Huntsmans Close but held it all together and finished with a beaming smile. I still maintain she is the most exciting rider to watch on the cross country.
Izzy Taylor was the only rider to finish with 2 horses, and with most of the field failing to finish, this left her with two in the top 20. Izzy rides with the style and grace of someone with twice her experience.
|Tim Lips & Keyflow|
Harry Meade must have been like a dog with two tails, and deservedly so. Only months after returning from a career threatening fall, he rode Wild Alone superbly around Badminton and finished on the podium in 3rd.
Another horse I really enjoyed seeing finish well was Keyflow, ridden by Tim Lips. I remember seeing him bowling along at a big event last year and thinking what a lovely horse that looks like he's enjoying himself.
|Peter 'bolt' Morris Warming Up For XC Day Media Duties!|
Badminton is the one event I don't get to see much of as I spend most of it in front of a laptop keeping the outside world up to date, hence many of the pictures here are courtesy of the wonderful Sally Newcomb (www.snimages.co.uk) who works for us during the event providing images for the website.
|The Outside Chance Bar - Lake View|
|The Grassroots XC Course Provided A Decent Test & Some Great Photos|
|Sam Griffiths Winner Of The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2014|
83 horses started, only 32 finished, and I don't think I've ever seen a 4* won off of such a high score (although Mike Tucker & Ian Stark have, but that was in their hey day!).
All In all this year's Badminton was a corker, a serious competition, and seriously good fun!
Read all about it on the website: http://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/