Even for non-equestrians it is popular family holiday. In 2011 the event takes place over the Easter weekend, April 21-25. The entire event encompasses a five day period with a variety of shopping opportunities that rival any town mall. It makes the perfect destination for a family Bank Holiday.
The Three Day Event showcases dressage, cross country, and show jumping. One event takes place each day allowing spectators to decide their area of interest or take in the whole of events. The riders aren't the only champions. The horses can only compete at Badminton if they've earned sufficient points in the previous season to qualify.
William Fox-Pitt has won a stupendous 40 Three Day Events including the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trails (2004). He has five horses entered for 2011 from which to choose. Entries from 12 countries include a strong team from Germany. Andrew Nicholson from New Zealand boasts 29 completions but has yet to win the event brought three horses including his renowned World Equestrian Games Bronze Medallist, Nereo.
The show has been extended to include Thursday 21st April to include the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships for amateur and weekend riders. All the trade stands will be open for business including #141 which offers Dodson & Horrell horse feed, herbs and supplements. They have their feed professionals there to help answer any questions or worries owners may have regarding their horse's diets. This extra day affords viewers an opportunity not only to visit the stalls but to walk the cross country course also.
Cancer Research UK has been chosen as Charity for the 2011 Year for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. This will always ensure they receive large donations for their charity.
The United State has a contingent of six riders, the largest group in years. Three members of Canada's WEG Silver Winning Team have joined the Americans coming over for this three Day Event.
The female riders are also well represented. Tina Cook comes with her 2009 European Champion horse. Piggy French brought two of her award winning rides with her, and Triple Badminton Winner Pippa Funnell will ride for the first time since 2008. Mary King, a previous winner of the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trails, arrives with three horses from which to choose. Daisy Berkeley and Lucy Wiegersma with her 2008 second place ride also deserve a hard look.
Those new to the event have winning histories that mean they should be closely watched. Laura Collett has made a golden trail through the age specific ranks, and James Robinson, who is a working vet, represents the amateurrider with his horse Comanche.
With the Olympics in London 2012 Summer a year away, the International team coaches will be keeping a close eye on Badminton this year to calculate how their plans are evolving.