This year is the the 25th Anniversary of the Mitsubishi Motors sponsorship at Badminton Horse Trials. It is also the 25th time the famous trophy will be presented to the winning rider.
The iconic trophy was designed and made by sculptor, Judy Boyt, in her small, rented flat on the Charlton Park estate in Wiltshire in the late winter of 1991.
“My landlord was friends with the retiring press officer, Jim Gilmore, and he kindly secured me an interview with the board of Directors,” recalled Judy. “At the meeting with the Directors all present, I drew my idea on a wooden table there and then. I wanted it to be unique, instantly recognisable and reflect the nature of the sport with three very distinct phases.”
The Directors were pleased with what they saw and gave Judy the commission – and just six weeks to produce the end result.
“The Dressage horse is a mare, but is based, in type, on Lorna Clarke’s Kings Jester, the Cross Country horse is meant to be Ian Stark’s Murphy Himself and the Show Jumping horse is Mary King’s King William,” she said.
Judy recalls a memorable incident when the Duke of Beaufort first saw the trophy.
“The tack reflects what was being worn at the time and the Cross Country horse was wearing a gag bit. The Duke, when he saw it, jokingly said that he didn’t want a horse in a gag as it signified that the rider couldn’t ride it, so I changed it to a snaffle!”
Twenty-five years on and Judy has had another Mitsubishi Motors Badminton-related project – she is responsible for the striking fibreglass sculptures outside the World Horse Welfare stand, each one decorated by artists to depict one of 14 different equines that the charity has helped.
“At the end I was left with my master sculpture, of a horse called May, which I cut in half longitudinally and decorated in two halves; one side represented her at the time when she was rescued – all skin and bone – and the other side is how she looks now – fantastically healthy.
To see the sculptures, visit the World Horse Welfare stand (93, Somerset Way).