Badminton Horse Trials Q&A with Jane Tuckwell

Jane Tuckwell first got involved in Badminton Horse Trials in 1974. She became Secretary in 1985, Assistant Director in 2006, and Event Director in 2020 – just in time for Covid.

Now she has marshalled the armies of 800 volunteers and 200 contractors that make an event like this happen again. She very kindly found a spare minute to give us a brief insight into what it takes…

Image courtesy of Sally Newcomb

We’re delighted to be back at Badminton – the whole equestrian world is delighted to be back – but we know it involves a fantastic amount of work for you and your team, and hundreds of volunteers. Can you give us an idea of how many people it takes to make Badminton happen, and has it taken more work for you after the two-year layoff?

There are approximately 800 volunteers and 200 people working for contractors on site over the 5 days – but not all at the same time.  Saturday has a larger number of officials/contractors than any other day.  Not more work but a bit longer to fit the jigsaw pieces together again!

When does preparation for the event start? Is there year-round management in order to get the best going on the XC course and arenas?

The management and maintenance is ongoing – with each year rolling into the next.

You faced such disappointment when Covid forced you to cancel in 2020 and then again in 2021. For all the masses of people who are so excited to be coming back to Badminton how is 2022 going to be different to any other year?

Every event is different and has its own reasons for being memorable but I think 2022 will be remembered for everyone being pleased to be back at Badminton.

The health and safety of the horses competing here is the absolute priority for you, and Badminton has led the way in making eventing so much safer for horses and riders. What are the most important improvements that have been made in recent years?

The event evolves continuously in all ways.  The rules regarding fence design, pins & clips, have gone a long way to stop bad falls of both horses and riders.  A lot of work has been put into the ground at Badminton.

We have been supplying our shavings for the horses at Badminton since 2006, and this year the competitors will now be using Bedmax which its NOPS accreditation, how important do you feel this will be to your competitors?

The provision of this bedding is much appreciated by the riders and ourselves….(now)  Bedmax  is the first equine bedding company to become BETA NOPS accredited, which means it highly reduces the risk of contamination via the shavings.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job, and do you have a favourite memory?

There is very little I do not enjoy, and there really are too many to mention.

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