A Preview of the Equestrian Elite: Mars Badminton Horse Trials 2024

The Mars Badminton Horse Trials, one of the world's most renowned equestrian competitions, is set to thrill spectators from 8 to 12 May 2024. Some of the greatest riders in the sport are preparing to demonstrate their partnership with their talented horses in a contest of proficiency, agility, and coordination. This sneak peek into the 2024 Badminton Horse Trials will uncloak the promising contenders, potential victors, and the asterisks to note during the event.

The Cavalry of Champions: Rider and Horse Pairs to Watch

We are on the edge of our saddles anticipating thrilling performances from seven former winners of this esteemed event. The list of riders and horses is a veritable equestrian Hall of Fame: Vinous starters include Ros Canter on 'Izilot DHI' & Piggy March on 'Brookfield Inocent'. Also lining up are past victors like Laura Collett on 'Bling' & 'Hester' and William Fox-Pitt on 'Grafennacht'. Furthermore, riders like Oliver Townend, who will be starting on two of his three entered horses, and Pippa Funnell with 'Majas Hope', add to the palpable excitement.

Global Participation: The Global Grid

This year’s lineup is a global representation of equestrian excellence. Riders from 11 different countries have entered the event, including representatives from Australia, France, Ireland, New Zealand, the USA, and lesser-expected nations like Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and Lithuania.

Ireland's Challenge: Could Green Be the Color of Gold?

The Irish challenge is spearheaded by Sam Watson on 'SAP Talisman' and Sarah Ennis with 'Grantstown Jackson'. Interesting to note, Georgie Goss, an eight-time Badminton participant, will be riding under the Irish flag for her first time, having made her nationality switch in March 2023.

Notable Absences: Who’s Missing the Party?

A number of top combinations are unfortunately missing from the start lineup, a common trend in an Olympic year as riders often prioritize the games. Notably absent are previous event winners, 'Lordships Graffalo' (Ros Canter) and 'London 52' (Laura Collett). Some British riders, such as the silver medallist from the last Olympics, Tom McEwen, have chosen the 'Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event' instead, which is scheduled two weeks before Badminton.

Change Is in the Air: Alterations to the Entry System

In an interesting turn of events, the entry system for the 2024 Badminton Horse Trials has seen some adjustments, including the introduction of a more transparent ballot system for entries. While this year's entries were traditionally accepted, the changes hint at an effort to ensure fairness and encourage fresh talent in future events.

For lovers of equestrian sports, the Mars Badminton Horse Trials is an annual feast, bringing together a global community of riders, horses, and fans. With the roster locked in and the anticipation building, we can only wait for the sound of galloping hooves to echo around the estate once more.

Badminton Horse Trials: Seven former winners prepare for the event. (2024, March 25). Retrieved from: Horse & Hound.
Mars Badminton Horse Trials 2023: A preview of the competitors. (2023, April). Retrieved from Horse Trials Journal.