A clutch of Kiwi eventers are primed and ready to take on the MARS Badminton Horse Trials, one of the world’s toughest three-day events. Badminton is one of just seven CCI5*-L events in the world – the highest-ranked difficulty in eventing.

New Zealand has a strong history with the British event, with Kiwi combinations having won the top prize seven times and many times been on the podium. With it being an Olympic year, the world’s best are hunting down top results, and the New Zealand riders heading to Badminton are no different. Lining up with silver ferns on their chests are Caroline Powell, Tim and Jonelle Price, Jesse Campbell and amateur Lauren Innes.

Caroline Powell rides Greenacres Special Cavalier. File Photo. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

London bronze medal-winning Olympian Caroline Powell has two entered in her star Greenacres Special Cavalier and 5* debutant CBI Aldo. Eleven-year-old Irish-bred mare Greenacres Special Cavalier placed fifth at Pau 5* and sixth at Maryland 5*.

Caroline has 16 Badminton completions to her credit. Her best effort was fourth on her Burghley-winning horse Lenamore who had finished Badminton seven times – one of just four horses to have done that many. Badminton is a favourite for Caroline. “It is a very special event with so much history,” she says. “Both my horses have prepped well and I am looking forward to the week.”

Jonelle Price rides Grappa. File photo  Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Three-time Olympian and 5* victor Jonelle Price is in on Badminton debutant Grappa Nera, who she’s previously won the Pau 5*. “Grappa Nera has had a good preparation and appears to be running on all cylinders ahead of next week,” says Jonelle. “If I can have her in the right frame of mind then she’s capable of putting in three very good phases. We’ve had a very challenging spring weather but the forecast looks good so hopefully, the ground continues to dry and we should be in for a great week of competition.”

Former world no.1 Tim Price has nine Badminton completions under his belt with four 5* wins in the trophy cabinet. So far Badminton has eluded the two-time Olympian, who won an individual bronze at the 2022 World Champs, with his best effort so far a third.
Despite plenty of cancellations in the UK, Tim says he was lucky Vitali hasn’t missed any of his key runs in the build-up. “It is always a bit of a push to get through fitness-wise for Badminton but I think we are on track,” said Tim. “I am looking forward to taking a good horse there with a good plan to execute three good phases and have an exciting week.”

Tim Price rides Vitali. File Photo Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Tokyo Olympian Jesse Campbell is in aboard Cooley Lafitte, with amateur Lauren Innes starting Global Fision M for the third time at Badminton.

New Zealand has a great history with Badminton. Jonelle was the last Kiwi to win when she rode Classic Moet to victory in 2018. Before that, Andrew Nicholson and Nereo (2017), Jock Paget aboard Clifton Promise (2013), and Sir Mark Todd on NZB Land Vision (2011), Bertie Blunt (1996), Horton Point (1994) and Southern Comfort III (1980) are all etched on the winner’s trophy. ESNZ eventing coach Sam Griffiths has also previously won it (2014).

It’s the 75th running of the iconic event which was originally started by the 10th Duke of Beaufort. Eleven nations will be represented and included in the 87 acceptances are 19 first-timers. The last two winners – Ros Canter (2023) and Laura Collett (2022) – are both on the card, albeit on different horses. The late withdrawal of world no.1 Oliver Townend (GBR) puts an end to anyone winning the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing this year.

A rider has to win Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky to secure the $US350,000 prize which has only been awarded twice since its inception in 1999.

The 2024 edition gets underway on Wednesday (UK time) with the dressage which continues through Friday, with the Eric Winter-designed cross country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday.

MARS Badminton Horse Trials
WHEN: May 8-12, 2024


Meanwhile, in Germany, Kiwi combinations are chasing more results as they strive to impress selectors for the Paris Olympic Games. Eleven combinations have made the trek to the Internationale Marbacher Vielseitigkeit to contest the CCI4*-S. Clarke Johnstone has Menlo Park, Rocket Man and Domasco on the CCI4*-S card.

Also entered is Sam Lissington with Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ and Lord Seekonig, Dan Jocelyn aboard Blackthorn Cruise, Hollie Swain with Ballycoskerry Regal Diamond, James Avery on MBF Connection, Muzi Pottinger aboard Good Timing, and Ginny Thomasen with Capitaine De Hus Z.

The 4*-S starts with two days of dressage across Thursday and Friday, followed by the cross country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday

Internationale Marbacher Vielseitigkeit
WHEN: May 9-12, 2024
WHERE: Gestutshof, Gomadingen, Germany





CBI Aldo

by Goodluck VDL out of KMS Eclipse who is by Ramon

Pat Melville-Evans, Jo West and Serena Greenwell

Greenacres Special Cavalier

by Cavalier Royale out of Greenacres Touch who is by Touchdown

Chris and Michelle Mann and Caroline Powell


Grappa Nera

by Karendasj out of Cetonette who is by Babalouba

The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price

Cooley Lafitte

by Je T’aime Flamenco out of Graf Shenanigans who is by Scirocco Delle

Jay Jaffar


by Contender out of Noble Lady who is by Heraldik

Alexander and Joseph Giannamore and Tim Price

Global Fision

by Flipper D’Elle*HN* out of Kantussa who is by Cantus

Innes Family Syndicate

Menlo Park

by Berlin out of Faerie Queen who is by Rock King

Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone

Rocket Man

by Diacontinus out of For You who is by For Pleasure

Jean and Rob Johnstone


by Zoffany out of Iwunder who is by King’s Best

Clarke Johnstone

Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ

by Caretino out of Quantum Flash who is by Tristaking

Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington


Lord Seekonig

by Lord Fauntleroy out of Seekoenigin who is by Carpalo

Sharon Honiss, Annabelle and Robin Greville Williams, Brayden Lissington and Neil Robertson

Blackthorn Cruise

by Vancouver out of Ms Cruze who is by Cruising

owned by Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn

Ballycoskerry Regal Diamond

by Gentle Diamond out of Rolling Star who is by High Roller

The Hendrix Syndicate

MBF Connection

by Luidam out of Traditionally Aloof

Hazel Liversey and James Avery

Capitaine De Hus Z

by Cosinus out of France de Hus who is by Fergar Mail

David and Karie Thomson and Ginny Thomasen

Good Timing

by Nom du Jeu out of Baloushe who is by Black Minnaloushe

The Volunteer Syndicate

By Diana Dobson
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ