Walking the course with Nick Turner (previous Badminton competitor, now Brazilian Eventing Team Coach and Snr Selector for British Eventing) was a fantastic way to learn all about the challenges of this true four-star course.
The big message of the day from Nick was how critical it is that the rider has absolute understanding and control of the speed, power and straightness of the horse. If you misjudge or get to a fence at the wrong speed, on the wrong line or in the wrong balance the consequences can be serious.
Throughout the walk Nick talked about straightness and how crucial it is that riders can stay ‘on the correct line’ and keep control of the horse’s shoulders. Horses need to be trained to ‘lock on’ to fences and hold their line and they learn to jump between the flags, which can be a real bonus through a combination if the rider isn’t always in the right place. (This is also why the flags on the open corners of fences 15AB could really confuse the horses).