Top 10 triumphant moments at Badminton 2016

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW. Photo via Michael Jung Facebook page.


Badminton 2016 was a weekend filled with highs and lows for riders across the leaderboard. We all watched anxiously cheering on riders who were there to make history and some just to score a personal best.

Let’s take a moment and celebrate  the “Top 10 triumphant moments” at Badminton this year.


10. Mark Todd (NZL) making another legendary cross-country save and riding to a 4th place finish with Leonidas II. He might be 60-years-old but he can still pull off saves that a fit 30-year-old wouldn’t be able to make. He also showed his fellow Kiwis that he is still number one by finishing as the highest New Zealander. This is definitely not the first time Mark has been the numero uno Kiwi and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Mark Todd’s save is at 0:40


9. The 16-year-old and only 15.1hh, Portersize Just A Jiff, finishing in 9th place with his longtime jockey, Camilla Speirs (IRL). This duo has been together since Camilla was young enough to ride in pony classes, but Jiff grew too large. However, he did become Camilla’s Junior and Young Rider mount. Together, they have also competed at numerous senior major championship events, including the 2010 and 2014 WEG, 2011 and 2015 European Championships, and the 2012 Olympics. I would not be surprised to see them at the Rio Olympics this year, after delivering such a flawless Badminton result.


8. Emily King (GBR) delivering a flawless dressage test with Brookleigh, scoring a 36.8 to put some pressure on Michael Jung. Emily is only 20-years-old but she was able to put in the next best dressage test to Michael’s, at only her second four-star. Despite Brookleigh falling at the second last fence on cross-country, this pair still has a lot of four-stars left in them. With a little luck, they could win a four-star before the end of this year!


7. Clarke Johnstone (NZL) and Balmoral Sensation flying into a 5th place finish, making his road to Rio look worth the trek from New Zealand. Clarke moved from New Zealand to the UK in March to train with the rest of the Kiwi team in the lead-up to the Olympics. Their long trip has not been in vain, delivering a bang up performance this weekend to be the second highest placing Kiwi duo (next to Mark Todd and Leonidas II). Clarke was part of the 2010 WEG team with Orient Express and I think his chances of riding at Rio are pretty strong.


6. Libby Head (USA) piloting her Young Rider mount, Sir Rockstar, around their first Badminton like it was a Novice event. Libby was the only American rider to finish Badminton this year and she did so with style, finishing 31st. In most of the pictures from the event Libby was grinning ear-to-ear and Sir Rockstar had his ears pricked. Everyone in North America was cheering this pair on and their stellar weekend brought joy to many fans. Libby will now be staying in the UK to train for Burghley this fall, so keep your eye on this pair as they prepare to conquer another four-star.

Libby Head (USA) & Sir Rockstar on their way to rocking Badminton. Photo via Libby Head on Facebook.

Libby Head (USA) & Sir Rockstar on their way to rocking Badminton. Photo via Libby Head on Facebook.


5. Arctic Soul proving that OTTBs rule by placing 3rd with Gemma Tattersall (GBR) as his jockey. Gemma and Arctic Soul are the inaugural winners of the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) award for the highest placed former racehorse at Badminton. Their 3rd place finish also made them the best of the Brits at Badminton. Are they speeding down the road to Rio? I think so!


4. Kathryn Robinson (CAN) making Canada proud by scoring a 47.9 in dressage, jumping clear cross-country and show jumping a double clear with Let It Bee. Kathryn was the only Canadian at Badminton this year and she did a remarkable job representing our country. She finished in 37th place with Let It Bee, as she rode very steadily on cross-country with time penalties. This pair is qualified for the Olympics and one of the only three Canadian combinations to complete a four-star this year.


3. Jean Tuelere (FRA) whizzing around cross-country with only .4 time penalties at 62-years-old. Jean has shown that age is really just a number and if anything, eventers improve with time. He was the oldest competitor in the field and rode Matelot du Grand Val to a top 20 finish, placing 17th overall. Maybe he will be the oldest eventer at this year’s Olympics?


2. Michael Jung (GER) claiming the Rolex Grand Slam title and winning Badminton with the best score in history. Michael rode his legendary mount, La Biosthetique Sam FBW, to victory at Badminton on a freakishly low score of a 34.4. Michael is also the first German rider to ever win Badminton and only the second Rolex Grand Slam title holder (British rider, Pippa Funnell won the Rolex Grand Slam in 2003). Michael’s performance over the weekend is one that the Eventing world will be talking about for decades.


1. Ben Hobday (GBR) kicking cancer’s butt and riding around Badminton like the total legend he is, with Willberry Wonder Pony on his back. Just last year, Ben was battling Burkitt non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and now he is back at the HIGHEST level of the sport. He jumped a clear cross-country round to finish 32nd with his super cob and fan favourite, Mulry’s Error. Willberry Wonder Pony was along for the ride. Ben’s entire Badminton weekend is the definition of ‘triumphant’. #YehBoi

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