SALLY CORSCADDEN: My Badminton Horse Trials routine

  • 1 May 2019, 10:58

Sally Corscadden is on her way to the 2019 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile)

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.

It’s the week of the 2019 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Irish riders are all feeling pretty confident. The riders travelled to Badminton on Monday and I travelled over yesterday morning (Tuesday) to oversee the rider’s final training sessions and to be there in time for the trot up which is on today (Wednesday).

Ian Woodhead, our dressage coach, and Grant Wilson, our newly appointed show jumping coach, will be on hand to work with the athletes before their dressage tests and show jumping rounds. Our human and equine phsysios, Clare-Maria Currie and Davide Focardi will also be on hand to help prepare the horses and riders for the week ahead.

The riders always have their own team of supporters around them and they tend to keep the annual routine much the same, they park in the same spot and then together we try to create an Irish camp. At Badminton, the riders from each nation are usually all stabled together which is great, they are all there to support each other.

Badminton is an individual competition so there’s not too much pressure on me, I’m predominantly there with my selectors hat on, but I’m also there to support the riders and co-ordinate with the coaches too.


Horse Sport Ireland Eventing High-Performance Director, Sally Corscadden will be on hand at Badminton Horse Trials to to support the riders and co-ordinate with the coaches

On the morning of the dressage I like to talk to each rider individually about their performance plans and to ensure that they have their training times sorted with Ian Woodhead, their dressage coach. We also have to schedule time for the riders to fit in cross country course walks around their dressage test.

I always like to wheel the cross country course to get the distance and if there are any tricky lines we will discuss them together. We all go to the riders briefing on Wednesday and then there is another briefing on the Friday, ahead of the cross country. If the riders have any questions or concerns they want to raise I will do that at the Friday briefing.

Then it’s really up to them.


There’s always such a buzz on cross country morning, I’ll get in early and have breakfast with the Irish athletes in the competitors canteen, which is in the old stables. I always enjoy the interaction between the riders competing – it’s brilliant.

Badminton is an individual competition so on cross country day it’s the riders versus the cross country course, not so much the riders versus each other – all the nations help each other out and talk about the course and share ideas. Andrew Nicholson and Yogi Breisner will be there, both have helped train the Irish athletes so it will be good to talk to them.

At the start/finish line they have 10 or 12 big screens to watch the athletes as they go round. I’ll always watch the first few riders and then bring back as much information as I can to the Irish athletes before they go out. When the Irish athletes complete their rounds I always try and de-brief them as soon as possible and if there have any advice for the remaining Irish athletes I will pass that on.

Padraig McCarthy, Piggy French, Oli Townend, Tim Price and Ingrid Klimke are the likely favourites, but it’s Badminton and anything can happen.


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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