SALLY CORSCADDEN: 2019 Badminton Cross Country course – first impressions

  • 1 May 2019, 11:14

As part of Horse Sport Ireland’s new blog, STABLE TALK, Horse Sport Ireland Eventing High-Performance Director, Sally Corscadden gives readers an insight into the sport of eventing and her role and responsibilities as Director.

Eric Winter, designer of the cross country course for the 2019 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, describes this year’s track as being “different to what we’ve previously seen” and different it certainly is! This will be Eric’s third year as course designer at Badminton and I think this year’s course is quite different to last year. If you would like to check it out for yourself you can do so by clicking the following link: 2019 Badminton Cross Country Course


Fence 4A – Savills Staircase (Photo – Badminton Horse Trials)

Fence 4B/C – Savills Staircase (Photo – Badminton Horse Trials)

The first big question on the course comes quite early on – at fence four, Savills Staircase. The horse and rider are faced with a three-part combination – a big log parallel, down two stone steps and then a tight left turn to another log parallel.

The steps come up very quickly after the first big log parallel, and if the horse is coming on too fast or is fighting the rider then the horse could very easily decide to run out at the last part of the combination.

On the approach to the steps the ground slopes away so that the horse won’t see the step down until about two strides before-hand, this could really catch them by surprise. With this combination being so early on in the course, horses will be keen so the riders will have to be on the ball from the very beginning.


Fence 10 A – Shogun Sport Hollow (Photo – Badminton Horse Trials)

Fence 10 B/C – Shogun Sport Hollow (Photo – Badminton Horse Trials)

The Shogun Sport Hollow (fence 10 A & B) is very different this year. Eric has introduced a new concept where riders must first navigate their horse through a pergola which then leads them straight on to a narrow ‘coffin’ ditch followed by a hard angle left or right to a choice of chunky, narrow tree trunks. The coffin is jumping into the face of a bank and this tends to knock a horse off stride a little bit and may affect their balance – it will be very interesting to see it up close.

The tree trunks are placed at quite an angle after the ditch so to the horse the obvious thing looks to go straight on after the ditch, it’s a very testing combination. Here Eric is testing the horse’s connection, how well they are listening to their rider.


Fence 3 – Little Badminton Gate (Photo – Badminton Horse Trials)

There seems to be a bit of a trend throughout of putting the take-off point of the fences where there are undulations in the ground and again that just tests the horse’s balance and footwork. This is where the likes of Classic Moet, who is very light on it’s feet, would just dance across the ground – it wouldn’t bother a horse like that.

Fence 24 – World Horse Welfare Lakeside (Photo – Badminton Horse Trials)

Fence 24 on the course, the World Horse Welfare Lakeside has an accompanying pump station which extends over the lake and creates an attractive looking waterfall, but anytime you put a waterfall on it makes things tricky for the horse, it can put them off stride with the water splashing down – it can affect how the horse judges distance and this can impact where they take off.

Fence 26 – Wadworth Lower Lake (Photo – Badminton Horse Trials)

At the Wadworth Lower Lake (fence 26) I think it’s interesting how Eric chose to put a triple bar out of the water, that’s a new concept which I haven’t seen before. It’s a little bit back from the water’s edge, but there’s no clear stride before the fence, so again it will be difficult for the horse to judge the take-off point. If the water isn’t too deep then it shouldn’t cause too much of a problem.

This innovative track is sure to test the athlete’s cross country riding and I am very much looking forward to seeing how our Irish athletes will answer the questions being asked of them.


Horse Sport Ireland Eventing High-Performance Director


Sally Corscadden was born in Leicestershire and moved to Ireland in 1988, where she met her husband Brendan and set up the now well-known and highly-regarded equestrian training facility that is Grange Farm.

Like many young equestrian enthusiasts, growing up Sally was an active member of the Pony Club, actively participating in everything from mounted games to hunter trials. She also enjoyed foxhunting and followed one of the UK’s most famous hunting packs, the Quorn Hunt of which her father was a member. It wasn’t until the age of 18 that Sally took up the sport of eventing.

Throughout her career as an international rider, Sally won events such as the CIC 3* at Thirlestane Castle, the final trial for the British and Irish European team in 1993, she also recorded wins in CCI’s at Ballindenisk and Blarney. At the 1993 European Championships in Achselschwang, Germany Sally was on the bronze medal-winning team and also placed individual 12th. Sally competed at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in the Hague, Netherlands where her team finished fifth.

Sally’s coaching career began shortly after the 1994 World Equestrian Games, when she became High Performance Coach to the Irish Junior Eventing Team who went on to win the team silver medal at the 1995 Junior European Championships in Gotland, Sweden. Sally also coached the Irish junior and pony teams that won team gold and team bronze at the European Championships in  2008 and 2015 respectively.

Sally became High Performance Manager and Chef d’Equipe of the Irish Young Rider Squad in 2011 and in her first year Irish riders claimed the Team Silver Medal and Individual Bronze Medal at the Young Rider European Championships at Blair Castle, Scotland.

Sally is now the Eventing High-Performance Director at Horse Sport Ireland and manages the Senior Irish Eventing Team who won team and individual silver at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina and became the first Irish sports team to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


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