It will be a first time competing at The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials for local rider Alicia Hawker, who is a former member of the Beaufort Hunt Pony Club and lives just eight miles from the event. At 23 years old, she is also one of the youngest riders taking part.
Last year Alicia was named the winner of the Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Scholarship, completed her first four-star at Pau with her Badminton entry Charles RR and the pair were third in the Under 25 championships at Bramham.
In the run up to Badminton, we find out a little bit more about Alicia and Charlie….
Tell us a little bit about your horse Charles RR?
Charlie is 16.2hh 11-year-old by Verdi. He has a really cheeky and very kind character. Oh, and he LOVES cross country!
Have the recent bad weather changed your preparation plans for Badminton?
We’ve had a slight change of plan following the bad weather. As we only did a dressage test at Burnham in the 3*, I entered the AI at Bicton as well as the Advanced at Belton. We finished 4th in the Advanced Under 25 at Belton and 6th at Bicton, so it was pretty good prep despite being on Plan B!
What were your initial thoughts when Eric Winter’s cross-country course was unveiled?
The course looks like there’s lots to jump, including the Vicarage Vee being back in…ekkk! I’m really looking forward to giving it a go though. Charlie is really scopey and a great galloper so fingers crossed we’ll be ok.
Who will you walk the cross-country course with for the first time, and who will you ask for advice?
I will walk the course with Rhian Jones, my long-term trainer and mentor. And also Mark Todd. I’ll talk to them both Rhian and Mark about it and ask them both for advice. They both know Charlie and his way of going really well, and you don’t get much more experienced than Mark.
You have been drawn number 16, do you think this will be beneficial to you on cross country day?
I think number 16 is quite good for cross-country day as I can watch a few go around then get on with it. We won’t have a long wait!
What are your expectations for your Badminton debut?
My aim is just to complete. Preparation has gone well and I’m really looking forward to tackling it!
We wish Alicia the very best of luck and look forward to catching up with her during the event.
Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee and Phil J Photos.