The British eventing season will have a new fixture from next year, when a new CIC*** will take place at Barbury Castle, in Wiltshire, on the second weekend in July.
David Green is the man behind the new event, which started with a chat to Barbury Castle estate owner, Nigel Bunter. “Nigel Bunter has been a great horse enthusiast for many years and he has this most amazing site. It was a shame for it not to be used, so we just went from there,” explains Green.
Between hosting the Australian and the American eventing teams, who stayed at his Maizey Manor base to prepare for the Olympics and for Burghley respectively, Green hammered out the details of the new CIC.
To make the most of the backdrop, he put together a super team. “If I am going to take on a project like this, I am going to surround myself with the best people in the sport,” he says. So he called in Captain Mark Phillips to design the course and asked the Willis Brothers to build it. “Mark is an exceptional designer,” says Green. “You’ll be able to see all of the cross-country from the main arena bar one fence.”
The event will open at three-star level, but Green is not worried that he may have taken a step longer than his legs. “The site lends itself to running a very good show and we have got a really good team of people together. With a team like that behind it, there will be no problem.”
To make sure the very best competitors will flock to the event, he has also come up with a meaty incentive: Barbury Castle will offer the highest three-star prize money in Britain — £5,000. “What better way to get [riders] than put the reward high?” he asks.
But pleasing the riders is not enough for Green. “We are aiming to make [Barbury Castle] very horse, rider and owner-friendly. It will make me happy for everyone to leave the event saying: ‘I can’t wait till next year’.”
British Eventing is “delighted” about the new addition to the calendar. “David Green has put together a strong and experienced team and [Barbury Castle] would appear to be a very good venue with what appears to be very good going,” says BE sport and technical manager Tim Hadaway. “I’m sure this will be a great success.”
The first Barbury Castle CIC *** will run on 9 and 10 July 2005.