Riders in the Mitsubishi Motors Cup have been taking the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field ahead of the Cross country phase which gets underway at 9.30am tomorrow (Wednesday 4th May).
Early arrivals to the 2016 event were treated to a course walk with Team GBR Eventing Performance Manager Yogi Breisner on Monday afternoon.
Despite the rain the competitors and their support crew turned out en masse to pick up the experience of Yogi;
“You have to adapt to the individual needs of your horse, you know them well. If you have a horse that is a little bit water shy, it might be a good idea to give your horses a little nudge to make sure they are in front of your aids and ready to go.
“Get your horse balanced, ride your lines, keep your horse between leg and hand and stick to your lines. At fence 15 ABC, where you have the rail to a ditch to the rail, use the turn to slow you down and get the horse back on his hocks, be strong with the top of your body, keep your stride short and bouncy, sit up for the first rail then forward to the ditch and final element.
“Coming to the last fence, make sure they are balanced around the turn and the horse is still concentrating; remember, even if you are getting tired, it is the horse who has done the work so make sure you pull him up in a nice way and take care of him once he has been taken care of you, then you can start the celebrations!”
Designed by James Willis, part of the Willis Brothers team responsible for building the International Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Cross Country course, the Mitsubishi Motors Cup course takes in some of the iconic locations of the main event, with riders jumping into the lake, galloping past the beautiful Badminton House and even taking on the Mirage Step at fence 18AB – their own version of the Vicarage V.
Earlier today, International Event Rider Nick Gauntlett took an enthusiastic crowd through the course commenting on the brilliant design by Willis and the level of competition; “Every year it amazes me how difficult it is to qualify for this competition, I think the standard over the years has gone up and up and up and I think James Willis has built a fantastic track, I think it’s lovely and the ground is going to be amazing.
“There are some proper tough questions, the riders know they are at a Championships, there is a lot to jump but I think it’s all very, very jumpable the good horses will make it look very easy and for the less experienced ones where there are places where they can have ‘sillies’ he’s given them all alternatives. The ground will be fast, it will be interesting to see how the time rides, I can’t wait to see whose name will be on the last fence for next year!
“I love the fact that he [James Willis] has taken ideas from the four star track, fence 18 is a take on the Vicarage V, I think he has been really clever to design that.”
This afternoon sees further course walks with European Young Rider medallist Tom McEwen and Nicky Roncoroni, a regular on the British Nations Cup team.
Virtual course walk
The CrossCountry App digital interactive course map with commentary from Yogi Breisner can be found on the Mitsubishi Motors Cup website.
Looking ahead to Day Two
Show jumping will start at 8.30am tomorrow (Wednesday 4th May) with the cross country phase beginning at 9.30am. Spectators can come along and watch the Mitsubishi Motors Cup cross country phase by purchasing tickets to the International competition at Badminton which also begins tomorrow – admission tickets and car passes can be purchased on the gate of the event each day of the event (4th – 8th May, cash only). visit Badminton-horse.co.uk for further information.