THE MITSUBISHI Badminton Horse Trials are just around the corner and two of the event’s top riders are stepping out on course walks in aid of the event’s nominated charity, Cancer Research UK.

Paul Tapner and William Fox-Pitt will be hoping to raise thousands of pounds as they walk the cross country course on the dressage days of the prestigious three day event.

Last year’s winner on Inonothing, Tapner, will be leading the first walk on Friday, April 22 at 5.30pm, with Fox-Pitt taking charge the following day at 11am.

It is the chance to pick up insights into one of the world’s most celebrated three day events – and benefit a good cause.

Badminton’s former chief cross country steward and committee member John Hills died of cancer in April, 2009.

Also supporting the walks is Malmesbury trainer William Miflin, who is battling cancer himself.

Miflin, 43, first competed at Badminton in 1991. He had intended to lead a walk but when ongoing treatment thwarted his plans, his friend Fox-Pitt kindly stepped in.

People willing to support the course walks will receive a fundraising pack with hints and tips on how to raise £100.

Places on the walks are limited and walkers should pre-register via

A YOUNG protégé of Carl Hester is making waves on the international dressage circuit as she goes head to head with her mentor for a place at the London 2012 Olympics.

Charlotte Dujardin is based at Hester’s yard in Newent, and has been with the dressage superstar since 2007.

In a surprise twist, Charlotte and her mentor Carl have swapped horses ahead of 2012 selection with Carl aboard Charlotte’s 11-year-old gelding Fernandez and Charlotte enjoying success on Carl and Roly Luard’s nine-year-old Valegro.

At the Vidauban CDI3* in the South of France last month, Charlotte and Valegro wowed the crowds with a sparkling performance.

The outing was their first foray into international grand prix dressage and they excelled with winning scores of 73% in the grand prix and 74% in the GP special.

Charlotte and Carl vied for first position but it was Charlotte who was triumphant, leaving her mentor in unfamiliar territory – second place.

Charlotte has modestly attributed her success to Carl and Valegro: “Carl has been a fantastic support as always,” she said. “He helps enormously with my mental preparation.

“Valegro takes everything in his stride and just seems to know what he’s doing. He’s an amazing horse; he has everything.”