Badminton Horse Trials
The first of the great three-day events, Badminton is celebrating its 61st anniversary. The Trials open with the Inspection of Horses at the north front of Badminton House, followed by dressage, cross-country and, on the final day, show jumping.
The brainchild of the 10th Duke of Beaufort, the first event - intended as a chance for British riders to train for international events - was held in 1949.
The cross-country day at Badminton attracts crowds of up to a quarter of a million. The Queen and other members of the royal family are regular visitors. The 7,096-metre course boasts 30 cross-country fences, which riders must run against the clock. The most infamous fence - in and out of the lake against the elegant backdrop of Badminton House - has claimed many casualties.
At Badminton Shopping Village there is a large number of trade stands, with everything from country clothes and riding accessories to works of art and delicious home-baked cakes.
Badminton House dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. Its famous Palladian north face, complete with a pediment and two cupolas, was designed by William Kent. Today it is the residence of the 11th Duke of Beaufort, who is a very successful rider in his own right.
Sadly the 2012 event had to be cancelled due to heavy rainfall so both organisers and spectators will be hoping for a brighter forecast in 2013!
Tickets on sale now.