Badminton 2024: Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier Claim Top Honors

Latta and RCA Patron Saint celebrated their first five-star completion in second; Bragg and Quindiva came back to take third place.

On par with the dramatic leaderboard shakeup that defined the previous three days of competition at the 2024 Mars Badminton Horse Trials, the event’s show-jumping grand finale didn’t disappoint in surprises.

New Zealand’s Caroline Powell and her 11-year-old, Irish-bred mare Greenacres Special Cavalier emerged as the victors, following a clean show-jumping performance. The pair posted one of only three clear rounds during show jumping that took place on Sunday and concluded the event in Gloucestershire, England.

Winners of the Badminton Horse Trials 2024, Caroline Powell (NZL) and Greenacres Special Cavalier enjoy their victory lap after show jumping concluded the event on Sunday. © Badminton Horse Trials

“She was absolutely amazing! I’m so privileged to ride such a good horse. She’s just a true professional,” Powell said. “The mare can be a wee bit leery, so we were thinking that if we do get the chance to go to Paris, then she needed to meet the atmosphere. So, we were here to test the waters and train her.”

Dream Come True

Powell and “Cav,” who she co-owns with friends Chris and Michelle Mann, placed seventh in the dressage phase with a score of 30 and finished sixth in cross country. After steadily climbing the leaderboard, Powell had hopes of finishing in the top three.

“I wasn’t ready for that one! To have finished third would have been great—but to win? It’s absolutely amazing! I can’t believe it,” said the 51-year-old eventing veteran. “I’m not in my youth anymore, so to get a horse to this stage and win is a dream come true.”

Powell and her 11-year-old, Irish-bred mare posted one of only three clear rounds during the show-jumping phase that concluded the event in Gloucestershire, England. © Badminton Horse Trials

While unusual for the winner to come from outside the previous top five, Powell and the plucky, athletic Cav proved they are formidable contenders. During the mare’s five-star debut in 2022 at Pau, France, the pair finished in fifth, and last October, they clinched sixth place at the Maryland 5 Star.

“It never entered my mind that we could win it,” Powell admitted. “You sort of get to an age where you start to ebb down a little bit and think that it might be your last time. To have won, is incredible.”

Remarkable Comeback

First-time five-star competitors Lucy Latta (IRL) and RCA Patron Saint celebrated a triumphant completion in second place after their comeback during cross country. © Badminton Horse Trials

First-time five-star competitors Lucy Latta and RCA Patron Saint, who had an unbelievable rally after finishing in 46th place following the dressage phase of competition, celebrated a triumphant completion in second place. After a less than perfect dressage test, Latta and the gelding completed cross country with the fastest round of the day, finishing one second after the optimum time.

“I had a really good round. He was really jumping for me considering that was his first time [going cross country] for 11 minutes 19 seconds and how big the fences were. I made a total rider error at the third fence, but my horse was phenomenal this week,” the amateur rider, representing Ireland, said of the pair’s show-jumping round. “I feel there’s loads more to come for him.”

Thrilling Finish for Bragg

Alexander Bragg and Quindiva climbed into third place after completing one of only three clear jumping rounds on Sunday. The pair finished in 10th following cross country, which was impressive after their 51st placing in dressage competition.

Alexander Bragg (GBR) and Quindiva also experienced a remarkable comeback to finish in third after landing in 51st place following dressage. © Badminton Horse Trials

“This mare is phenomenal at jumping, but you always think, ‘Have I got enough jump?’ Coming to the final line, I took this massive deep breath—and I think she thought we finished,” Bragg said of their show-jumping round. “I was like, ‘Don’t cop this, Alex, you’re nearly there!’ And then to finish clear was amazing!”

Badminton 2024: Highs & Lows

Both Tim Price and William Fox-Pitt had disappointing show-jumping rounds. Price and Vitali, who were leading after cross country, finished in eighth. Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht ended in 13th after a second-place finish in cross country. It was not the career ending Fox-Pitt, winner of 14 five-star events, had hoped for.

“I should have pulled the plug yesterday, but I have lived with a few moments in my career. And it will all be fine tomorrow,” he said. “I’m 55, I’m in one piece and I’ve been lucky.”

Emily King, whose mother is a dual Badminton winner, achieved her first Badminton completion, finishing fourth on Valmy Biat. Jonelle Price, the first New Zealand woman to win Badminton in 2018, was sixth on Grappa Nera. Tom Rowland had his best Badminton result in seventh place on Dreamliner, and Pippa Funnell had a stellar performance on the inexperienced MCS Maverick to finish in ninth. Bubby Upton, who only returned to the saddle in January after a serious injury, jumped clear on Cola to round off the top 10.

Read more about the 2024 Mars Badminton Horse Trials

  • Read more about Dressage Day 1 here.
  • Coverage of Dressage Day 2 can be found here.
  • Read about cross country here.

Thank you to Cosequin for our coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics. It includes rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.

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