Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2016

By Stephanie DeWitt   Photography Julian Portch   #MMBHT

Eventing history happened at this year's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials! Michael Jung riding La Biosthetique-Sam FBW became the first German to win the title, finishing on his dressage score of 34.4, the best ever result. Having won at Lexington, Kentucky, the previous week and Burghley last September, Michael also scooped the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing Trophy and a cheque for €350,000!


His compatriot, Andreas Ostholt on So Is Et, was runner-up with an additional nine penalties. Having ridden with Teutonic precision throughout, the pair dominated the winners' podium from start to finish.


After the first day of dressage they shared the stage with Francis Whittington from Rotherfield, East Sussex, who posted a score of 40 with Hasty Imp.


"Well, I wasn't expecting that!" beamed a delighted Francis who completed in 21st place.


Emily King, 20 year-old daughter of Mary and the youngest competitor, took over second place at the end of the dressage phase with a score of 36.8, but sadly came to grief on the cross-country course just two fences from home.


Although the going was perfect and the time allowed not too tight, Guiseppe della Chiesa's course took its toll. A sharp left-hand turn at the bottom of the Swindon Designer Outlet Mound caught out some riders as did the Mirage Pond where Alice Dunsdon of Ewhurst, Surrey, was cheated of her bid to enter the record books by being the first rider to complete all six of the four-star courses on the same horse, Fernhill Present.


But it was the fences at the Shogun Hollow and the infamous KBIS Vicarage Vee that caused most mayhem.

"People kept asking me if I planned to go straight over the Vicarage Vee," said Gemma Tattersall from Plummers Plain who tackled the course late in the afternoon with her ex-racehorse, Arctic Soul. " 'Yes!' I replied. 'Why?'!!"


Having jumped clear cross-country and in the showjumping arena, an emotional Gemma was the highest placed Brit in third place behind the Germans, also finishing on her dressage score of 44.6, just 0.2 points ahead of Sir Mark Todd on Leonidas II.


Fellow Kiwi, Jock Paget, who retired his former mount Clifton Promise in the arena, lowered one pole to drop down a place to sixth with Clifton Lush, while Olympian Tina Cook from Findon, West Sussex, held her nerve to jump clear on Star Witness, rising from 42nd after dressage, 14th after cross-country, to 7th position overall.


Going home with an armful of awards, Tina praised her horse, "Being full Thoroughbred he can be lazy, but he loves galloping and jumping and gave me a fantastic ride. This is what I get out of bed every day for!"