The world-renowned Badminton Horse Trials are fast approaching; the legendary cross country course has been revealed and it stands up to its name as the biggest track in the world, the ultimate test between horse and rider. Long standing British team member and RED MILLS ambassador Tina Cook is no stranger to the one of the most prestigious sporting events in the UK, having completed it “too many times to count and on at least 10 different Horses”.

Tina had an enviable position of having three horses entered however her competition this year has been put in jeopardy after a fall at Burnham Market Horse Trials at the end of March. Riding Billy The Red, the horse that partnered her to a European Championships team gold last year, the pair both fell when Billy caught a knee.

When we caught up with her she was sporting her sling and taking doctors’ orders on board with the hope that all will be well to compete at Badminton.

“I fell right on to the point of my shoulder so it took all the weight of my fall. It was the most painful injury I’ve ever had, the drugs didn’t touch it! It was my fault, we just got too close. Thankfully he’s absolutely fine” she said.

With less than a week to go until Badminton kicks off, it’s still touch and go as to whether Tina will be ready to tackle the imposing four star track. Taking it day by day so as not to do any more damage to the shoulder, she had her first jump since her injury just one week ahead of trot up day.

The British weather has played a large part in rider’s Badminton preparation this year with much of the start of the season a washout.

Tina said “I’ve been lucky that the two runs I had planned for each horse I managed to get in so they have had the preparation I expected. They are all established horses that had good runs at the end of last year but Red will only go to Badminton if I’ve managed to run him somewhere else first.”

Unfortunately time has run out for the pair to be able to get another event under their belt after their fall, so Billy will reroute to Luhmühlen Horse Trials in June. After their 10th placing last year it’s a shame that we won’t be able to see him at Badminton again this year but Tina thinks the 11 year old has an exciting future ahead.

All being well Star Witness and Calvino II will head to Badminton. Both had good runs at Burghley last year with Star Witness, known at home as Brad, finishing 7th and Calvino II 17th.

Brad is a 13yo Irish bred gelding who has finished in the top ten in all of the four star events he has tackled which, along with Burghley last year, includes 7th at Badminton and 10th at Burghley in 2016 and 8th at Burghley 2015 – his first four star. Reliable across the country he’s certainly one to watch out for on Saturday.

Calvino is also 13 and made his four star debut at Pau in 2016, followed by Badminton and Burghley last year. Usually posting a good dressage, he has only made two mistakes cross country since 2012 so it will be great to see how the duo fair this year.

Fingers crossed Tina’s shoulder plays ball and she will back tackling Badminton!