As the rain died down late Thursday at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI****, the wind picked up and we could hear it howling all night, but it blew the sky clear and Friday morning dawned bright and sunny. Henny is eating well here and he was looking for his grain this morning when I arrived. I mix all of his feed and I like to actually feed him myself too, so I can monitor his meals.
It was a nice day to walk the cross-country course, which I did, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. There are quite a lot of combinations and very few single fences, so there is essentially very little let-up on the entire course.
The track is made up of 30 numbered jumps but with all the combinations there are 45 jumping efforts over 4 miles. The optimum time is 11:30.
I think that Hen will like the jumps for the most part, but he hates to touch brush and the brush here is a bit different than we are used to—it is made of stiff birch twigs and not soft evergreen branches, so he will especially hate touching it. It's a good thing he usually jumps way over the brush!
|Henny enjoying a roll on Badminton's front lawn.|
While I walked the course in the morning Hen got to have relax time—grazing and snoozing in his stall. When he is out grazing he will stop every once in a while and just stare at the cross-country course—he seems to know what is coming and he wants to see whatever he can of it so he will literally start pulling whoever is holding him toward the course.
All of the grooms have been grazing their horses in front of Badminton House and Hen was really enjoying himself out there today. He even had the chance to have a nice roll in the lush green grass.
The course looks big and technical. The new course designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa is making a statement and has a lot of the riders worrying. He has made Badminton truly the biggest and toughest course in the world!
Officials have elected to remove the second or B element of Fence 18, which is the middle element of the Swindon Designer Outlet Mound. The question is made up of narrow logs and the B element required a turn on a steep slope, so the organizers have removed it due to the wet conditions.
I am very excited to tackle this course and feel like Hen and I are ready for the challenge.
**Editor's note: according to the results, Peter and Henny retired on course at Badminton after two run-outs at fence 13B—check back later today for Peter's blog about the day.**
U.S.-based Australian rider Peter Atkins is contending the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI**** with his popular partner, the Argentinean-bred Selle Francais Henry Jota Hampton, a.k.a. Henny. The duo are well-known for their exciting cross-country helmet cams seen between Henny's intelligent ears. Their fans rally around the familiar chant, "Run Henny Run!"