Are you going to the St James's Place Barbury Horse Trials this weekend (5-8 July)? If not, why not? Here are some great reasons why you should
1. Upsilon returns. Last year’s Barbury Event Rider Masters (ERM) winner, ridden by France’s Tom Carlile, is one of the most admired event horses in the world and it’s always a thrill to see him on British soil. The lovely grey stallion has had a few blips on his record since last year — he didn’t finish the cross-country at the 2017 Europeans and had run-outs at the ERM at Arville last month — so it will be interesting to see if he can return to form at Barbury.
2. Tom Carlile is just one of nine riders who have previously won ERM classes who compete in the section this time. The others are: Oliver Townend (Cillnabradden Evo), Gemma Tattersall (Pamero 4), Izzy Taylor (Director General), Andrew Nicholson (Swallow Springs), Astier Nicolas (Vinci De La Vigne), Sarah Cohen (Treason), Alex Hua Tian (Don Geniro) and Chris Burton (Polystar I). The riders will fight it out for a prize pool of £50,000 in this class.
3. The Shetland Pony Grand National comes to Barbury for the first time on Sunday (8 July). Who doesn’t love to see those ponies and their tiny jockeys fly round the miniature National Hunt fences?
4. Andrew Nicholson will aim to take his Barbury CIC3* winning record to six. He has won four times on the late Avebury and once on Nereo. This time he rides Swallow Springs in the ERM and Yacabo BK in the other CIC3*.
5. Three days of cross-country, with excellent viewing and a new feel to the tracks. Former Olympic and world champion Blyth Tait designs the novice course for the first time, while Mark Phillips’ CIC2* and CIC3* tests have a fresh new layout, with the ERM course finishing in the main arena — this will make for maximum excitement as the reverse order cross-country comes to a head.
6. TFour horses long-listed for Britain’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) squad are competing, so you can check them out before they potentially fly off to the USA in September. Tina Cook will ride last year’s European team gold medallist Billy The Red in the ERM section and needs to show some form after a slightly chequered spring campaign. Nicola Wilson and Bulana take on the regular CIC3* and will also hope for a change of fortune. Meanwhile Toledo De Kerser (Tom McEwen) and Away Cruising (Harry Meade) both have their first runs since Badminton in the CIC2*.
7. The JCB Champions’ Challenge at 1.45pm on Saturday, a relay race over jumps in the main arena in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, is always great fun to watch. Badminton and Luhmühlen winner Jonelle Price heads up the eventers’ squad and she is joined by her husband Tim, Lissa Green and H&H columnist Mark Todd. The jockeys’ team consists of three-time champion jump jockey Richard Johnson, Tom Scudamore, Wayne Hutchinson and Sam Twiston-Davies.
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8. Barbury has a new “kidzone”, with a mini-zoo, including meerkats. There’s also have-a-go dog agility, a fun dog show and a dog agility masterclass demonstration from recent world silver medallist Anthony Clark and his top dog Protest.
9. #WearGreenForJonty — riders and supporters will be out in force wearing green T-shirts, wristbands, cross-country colours and more to show that Jonty Evans, the Irish eventer who suffered a serious brain injury in a fall last month, is constantly in their thoughts.
Don’t miss the full report from Barbury Horse Trials in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (12 July 2018).