Tackling the challenging cross-country at Badmninton Horse Trials, through our photographer's lens.

Padraig McCarthy (IRL) riding MR. CHUNKY


Tom McEwen (GBR) riding TOLEDO DE KERSER


Oliver Townend (GBR) riding COOLEY SRS


Micheal Jung (GER) riding LA BIOSTHETHIQUE SAM


Rosalind Canter (GBR) riding ALL STAR B


Oliver Townend (GBR) riding BALLAGHMOR CLASS


Richard Jones (GBR) riding ALFIES CLOVER


Alexander Whewall (GBR) riding CHAKIN'S STAR


Ben Hobday (GBR) riding MULRY'S ERROR


Giovanni Ugolotti (ITA) riding CULTREWIND


Tim Price (NZL) riding RINGWOOD SKY BOY


Simon Grieve (GBR) riding DRUMBILLA METRO


Pippa Funnell (GBR) riding BILLY BEWARE


Virginia Thompson (NZL) riding STAR NOUVEAU

Imogen Murray (GBR) riding IVAR GOODEN


Georgie Strang (GBR) riding COOLEY EARL


James Sommerville (GBR) riding TALENT


Lissa Green (AUS) riding HOLLYFIELD


Tom Crisp (GBR) riding COOLYS LUXURY


Michael Owen (GBR) riding BRADLEY LAW


Tom McEwen (GBR) riding STRIKE SMARTLY




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Bagging the biggest win of her career, New Zealander, Jonelle Price became the first female winner of Badminton Horse Trials since Lucinda Fredericks back in 2007.

 Dressage rider with top hat riding a black horse in a dressage arena Badminton Horse trials


Dressage rider wearing top hat riding black horse in dressage competition Badminton Horse trials

 dressage rider wearing top hat riding black horse in dressage arena Badminton Horse trials


The win with Classic Moet aka Molly came after a shaky showjumping phase, when several rails were rattled but none fell. The final, decisive phase of a three-day event isn't the horse's strong suit. 


"It is the first clear round she's jumped on final day for years. Despite rattling a few poles, despite the nervous moments for all those watching, it was a really good round."

event rider Jonelle Price riding a black horse jumping log into water on cross country course Badminton Horse Trials



Classic Moet's forte, however is her speed. She was a clear 10 seconds quicker than the second fastest horse (Arctic Soul) over the cross country phase of the competition. Second-placed Oliver Townend said: "I hope the public understands what that horse is. I don't think we'll see another cross country galloper like it in our lifetime."I couldn't keep up with it in the prize giving – it was about ten strides ahead of me, I looked down for a moment, and when I looked back up it was on the other side of the arena! I'd give anything for a foal out of it."

dressage rider Jonelle Price smiling wearing top hat

Speaking after her victory Jonelle said,

"I certainly had lady luck on my side, but sometimes you need a little luck.

"I sat down last night with Mark Todd who has been there numerous times before — we're often neighbours in the truck park.

"He said to me over a drink 'every dog has its day'. I said 'are you calling Molly (Classic Moet) a dog, and he said no - you'.

"It was a silly little moment, he was right, sometimes it is just meant to be and certainly today was our day."

The Price website contains a hilarious description of the Classic Moet.
 "Molly would, if she were a person, come from Swindon (or West Auckland for our NZ followers), be a couple of stone overweight, have several tattoos, wear a too-tight leather jacket over skintight leopard skin pants, have a boyfriend with an IQ of 10 who is a club bouncer, and four children by four different fathers."
"Molly is a legend but a kind of rock and roll one like Mick Jagger as opposed to the Princess type!"

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One minute you're sitting pretty at the top of your game and the next, it's all turned ugly! That about sums up the last week of Oliver Townend's eventing career, from Kentucky to Badders. It's tough to get to the top and it can be even tougher to stay there. As the Billy Ocean song goes, " When the Going Get's Tough, the Tough Get Going.' We know that it takes grit and determination to rise to the top of any sport but when animals are involved the less attractive side of ambition can be amplified. 

The reactions of most spectators to Oliver Townend's use of the whip on Badminton's Cross Country day ranged from 'uncomfortable' to 'appalled'. The sudden onset of hot weather married with 'holding' ground meant that a lot of horses were really tiring near the end of the course and had to be coaxed home. A lot of riders did this sympathetically but Townend was seen giving Ballaghmor Class in particular, quite a few smacks plus waving of his whip to drive him home. When we watched the cross country action live on the BBC it certainly wasn't a pretty picture. In his interview with Clare Balding afterwards Townend said that he'd had to work hard on his young horse who was prone to being nappy and was playing up a bit on the way home. Re-watching the footage, Ballaghmor Class actually didn't look as fatigued as many of the other horses and so maybe he did just have his mind on other things.  Cooley SRS who he rode at the beginning of the day, didn't look too tired as he finished and both horses certainly looked good in the jumping phase so certain claims that he was beating unfit exhausted horses home is probably an overwrought response.

Event rider Oliver Townend wearing black top and riding protector with black riding helmet on a bay horse jumping a stone wall at Badminton Horse TrialsOliver Townend on the XC course riding Cooley SRS at Badminton Horse Trials, 2018

You know your horse is talented, you've got your eye on the grand slam and a huge cash prize, new scoring changes have meant that your cross country time is even more crucial than before so it's easy to see that if your steed then decides he'd rather be back in his box munching hay, you might feel impelled to dissuade him! …..and under pressure, in full view of the equestrian world, Oliver Townend did just that with rather too many thwacks and waves of his whip. 

Now, we're not condoning what he's done but let's face it, many of us riders have made errors of judgement especially in the heat of the moment that we regret. There are probably plenty of his critics who definitely shouldn't be throwing stones! On the other hand it's quite right that we demand better of our equestrian heroes; they are supposed to inspire us and when they are flawed, we are disappointed. This has meant that Oliver Townend has received on top of the official warning from the Badminton ground jury, a social media whipping which can create it's own version of ugly. 

Becoming an online critic, doesn't necessarily make you a better horseman than Townend because it doesn't. As he himself has said in his apology. 

"I fully accept the warning I received. My competitive instincts got the better of me and I will work hard to improve in this area.


"I try hard to give my horse the best ride possible. I try to be as fit as possible, to be as light as I can be, to sit as still as I can, to get them on the best strides and take-off points to minimise the energy they have to waste."

These are a list of the positive factors that have got him to be the eventing world's number one rider. This is why horses will do what they do for him. Remember, 'To err is human….' and very few of us are without fault. Hopefully Townend has learnt from this, now let's leave him to get on with becoming the best rider we want him to be.

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Badminton's top 10 finishers, pictured here on Saturday's Cross Country day.

1. Winner of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton horse Trials 2018, Jonelle Price (NZL) riding Classic Moet

Event rider Jonelle Price wearing blue top and blue and white helmet riding dark bay horse jumping log fence into water at Badminton horse trials

“Being a CCI4* winner is an elite club to join and it’s been something that has eluded me for a while now, so to now join it – especially here at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials – is very, very special,”


2. Oliver Townend (GBR) riding Cooley SRS

Evening rider Oliver Townend wearing black top and black riding helmet riding bright bay horse jumping stone wall at Badminton Horse Trials

“If you’d have told me I’d have two horses in the top five at the end of this week I’d be very, very happy. “I’ve had to fight harder than I’ve fought before and it didn’t always look like I wanted it to look, but both horses have come out of it feeling very good.”


3. Rosalind Canter (GBR) riding Allstar B

side view of event rider Rosalind Canter wearing blue top and blue riding helmet on bay horse leaping over wood fence at Badminton Horse Trials

“I was a bit nervous going into the showjumping (on Sunday) because he felt quieter than usual in the warm-up and that rattled me, but our round got better and better as we went on.”


4. Gemma Tattersall (GBR) riding Arctic Soul

Even rider Gemma Tattersall wearing lilac top and lilac riding helmet riding bay horse jumping brush fence in front of Badminton House Badminton Horse trials


5. Oliver Townend (GBR) riding Ballaghmor Class

Event rider Oliver Townend wearing black top and black riding helmet riding grey horse jumping brush corner fence with red flag at Badminton Horse Trials


6. Mark Todd (NZL) riding Kiltubrid Rhapsody

Eventing rider Mark Todd wearing black top and black riding helmet riding a grey horse jumping a brush fence with red fence flag in front of Badminton House Badminton Horse trials


7. Tom McEwen (GBR) riding Toledo De Kerser

Event rider Tom McEwen wearing white colours and blue riding protector and blue riding helmet riding bay horse on grass


8. First timer, Padraig McCarthy (IRL) riding Mr Chunky

Eventing rider wearing green colors and green riding helmet riding bay horse jumping a wide table jump Badminton Horse Trials


9. Lauren Kieffer (USA) riding Veronica

event rider wearing blue riding helmet and body protector riding bay horse jumping fence with red fence flags and white fence flags at Badminton Horse Trials


10. Michale Jung (GER) riding La Biosthetique-Sam FBW

Eventing rider Michael Jung wearing black body protector and black riding helmet riding bay horse through water Badminton Horse trials


Full Final Results HERE



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