Only two Thoroughbreds from North America will contest the world-renowned MARS Badminton Horse Trials 5* Event in England from May 8 to May 12, 2024 – and they will be flying across the pond together.

Boarding their flight from Indianapolis to London on April 25th, 14-year-old thoroughbred gelding Wabbit (Molinaro Kissing), ridden by Canadian eventer Jessica Phoenix, OLY, and owned by Jim Phillips and Colleen Mitchell, and 18-year-old thoroughbred gelding Palm Crescent, ridden by American eventer Meghan O’Donoghue and owned by O’Donoghue and Will Duhring, will be keeping each other company on the journey.

With a world-class field of over 80 entries representing 11 nations, riders Phoenix and O’Donoghue are looking forward to showing spectators exactly why thoroughbreds are well-suited to a 5* event like Badminton. “Riding a Thoroughbred across a 5* cross-country course is amazing because they were bred to gallop and you can feel every part of them physically engaging in the sport. It’s the phase that they feel truly at home in,” says Phoenix.

A bay horse and rider jumping a fence at Kentucky.

Palm Crescent and O’Donoghue at the 2023 Kentucky Three Day Event. (USEA/Meagan DeLisle)

Phoenix and O’Donoghue bring a wealth of intercontinental experience to this world-class event, with Phoenix being a three-time Olympian and five-time Pan AM Games medalist for Canada and O’Donoghue being a veteran 5* international American event rider.

In 2023, Wabbit and Phoenix excelled at Burghley as the only thoroughbred entry, eating up the difficult cross-country course and finishing 11th, as well as earning top-20 finishes at both Maryland and Kentucky 5* Three Day Events. Wabbit is also qualified for the upcoming Paris Olympics being held in France this summer.

Badminton will be O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent’s sixth 5* event together, having competed in Kentucky three times, as well as Burghley 5* in 2022 and Maryland 5* in 2021. Palm Crescent was also part of the U.S. Nation’s Cup team at Achen in 2022. “The heart and athleticism of the American thoroughbred has carried me around many 5* events,” says O’Donoghue. “I’m looking forward to adding Badminton to my achievements and I wouldn’t pick any other type of horse to do it on!”

Flying horses to international competitions is an expensive endeavour and Phoenix and O’Donoghue welcome financial support to ensure Wabbit’s and Palm Crescent’s overseas journey to Badminton is a success. Become a part of their adventure by donating HERE.

You can follow along on Wabbit’s and Palm Crescent’s British adventures via socials: Facebook: Jessica Phoenix – Phoenix Equestrian Team and Meghan O’Donoghue Eventing and Instagram: @officialteamphoenix and @m_odonoghue_eventing