Badminton From the Sofa

We used to go to Badminton every year but haven’t managed it for the past few.  However, Badminton weekend is still very special for us and we always make sure to watch as much of it as we can.

I so much appreciate the live stream on the Badminton website – I got to watch the first trot up after work on Wednesday and my breaks on Thursday and Friday were spent cooped up in the staff room with the dressage.  It never gets shown on television so it was wonderful to be able to watch it.  Oliver Townend’s record score made it extra exciting too!

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I rode both my own ponies on Saturday morning (listening to Radio Badminton as I did so!) before making my way inside to settle down for the cross country.  This is obviously the big draw of eventing and is always very exciting but this year I knew it would be even more so – the new dressage scoring meant that the scores were tight and time penalties were going to be very influential.

I thought Eric Winter’s cross country course was brilliant.  There were lots of difficult questions which caused problems for the riders without too many falls.  It was wonderful to watch and the riders seemed to like it as well – they were all commenting on how great the course was and that the going was perfect.  I was particularly taken with the Nyetimber Heights, Shogun Sports Hollow and Outlander PHEV Bank combinations which at first glance looked impossible but mostly rode very well.  It was a fantastic day of sport and I was glued to the television.

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This morning I was up bright and early to see to the ponies before the final trot up.  We always make ourselves the same picnic breakfast we would have had if we were actually at the event and it was a lovely, leisurely way to start our Sunday.  My sister came round to ride and, feeling inspired, we did some jumping of our own.  It wasn’t quite up to Badminton standard but we had fun!

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Today’s show jumping was nail biting, especially when we got to the final few riders.  I couldn’t decide who I wanted to win – I am a huge fan of both Piggy French and Oliver Townend.  I really wanted Piggy to win her first five star but for Oliver to claim the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam would also be great.  Either way, I was thrilled with Piggy’s clear round – it meant we had a British winner.

Oliver Townend had one fence down but he could afford that as well as a couple of seconds over the time.  Even as he cleared the last fence we thought he had won – I think everyone did – but the clock ticked over just enough to drop him behind Piggy French.  I was so disappointed for him but absolutely delighted for Piggy.  She definitely deserved a win.

It has been a wonderful, if somewhat lazy, weekend.  It’s a shame it has to end!

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Beautiful Bank Holiday

The weather this bank holiday weekend has been glorious.  Blue skies all day with just a bit of mist in the mornings.  We went out for a lovely ride early yesterday morning and then spent most of the rest of the day in front of the television.  It is Badminton weekend after all!

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I always try to keep this weekend free because even if I can’t actually get there I love to watch.  I even watch snatches of dressage in my breaks at work.  On Friday I had an almost perfectly timed break and managed to watch Jonty Evans’ test.

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I was one of the many people who chipped in to pay for a tail hair of Cooley Rorkes Drift last year so I was very pleased with that.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Badminton.  So far I am a fan of the new scoring system without the dressage coefficient – recently eventing has felt a bit like a dressage competition!

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It has been a great weekend and we are now just out for what will hopefully be another lovely hack – an evening one this time.

Beautiful Badminton

I couldn’t get to Badminton this year but I still had a brilliant weekend. At first I thought there was going to be as little coverage as usual  – the BBC was only showing the cross country and a highlights show on Sunday which usually includes about five show jumping rounds.  It is especially annoying because if I didn’t live in the UK I could get a subscription to FEITV and watch the entire thing.

Right at the last minute though – Wednesday evening – I discovered that Badminton were live streaming everything not being shown on the BBC – amazing news!  I was working on Thursday and Friday but my breaks were basically spent in the staffroom watching the dressage.  I even managed to time one break perfectly to watch Emily King’s test – it was beautiful.

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Saturday afternoon was spent entirely on the sofa watching the cross country. It seemed to be a really good course and was certainly exciting to watch!

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This morning we actually got a livestream of the trot up which is something I love to watch.  We made ourselves the picnic we would usually take to watch it at Badminton and just ate it inside this time.

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I was very pleased to see all of the show jumping – the last five is just not enough.  It was nail biting right to the end.  Literally – I got very worked up!  I am always disappointed when a Brit doesn’t triumph but Michael Jung definitely deserved to win and Gemma Tatteersall had an amazing round to be best of the Brits.

A huge bonus – because I wasn’t expecting it (although I hoped for it) – was being able to watch the prize giving.  We even got to see the parade of hounds.  It has always seemed such a shame that the broadcast cuts off as soon as the jumping stops.  The livestream has been amazing all weekend and I am so glad it was there.