Last year’s Badminton was the first for Course Designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa, and it was influential. The course was tough, the time hard to make and the weather atrocious. It divided opinion. Many spectators vented their frustration online because they had not got to see their favourites riders and the day had been elongated by numerous holds on course. Many current and past eventers, however, loved it. It was praised as a “proper” four-star course.
It is important to remember, though, that as well as being the unofficial World Championship of eventing it is also one of the UK’s most popular sporting days out, with over 100,000 spectators coming through the gates most years. If della Chiesa was under pressure to make the course more accessible he succeeded: the cross-country phase of this year’s Badminton Horse Trials passed without a single hold on course, but was still influential because the time was hard to achieve.