Andrew Nicholson and Nicola Wilson join young event horse judging panel

  • Six-time Olympian Andrew Nicholson and European eventing champion Nicola Wilson are among the top names to join the 2023 Dubarry Burghley young event horse (BYEH) final judging panel.

    Les Smith and Sue Baxter, who have both officiated on CCI5* ground juries, will judge the dressage phase. Nicola will join former Olympic eventer Jane Holderness-Roddam in judging the jumping phase. Former British eventing team vet Jenny Hall will judge the suitability and type phase, and five-time Burghley winner Andrew will mark the gallop.

    The series aims to showcase four- and five-year-olds who have the attributes to develop into top event horses. Qualifiers take place throughout the summer, ahead of the final on 1 September at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, where the horses will perform a dressage test and showjumping round, and have their conformation examined.

    The top 10 from each class come forward for a final assessment, where they are judged on their suitability and type for reaching the top levels of the sport, and their potential to take on a five-star track in the future.

    The series underwent a “refresh” in 2022 under new Burghley event director Martyn Johnson, with an increase in prize money and adjustments to the way the horses are assessed to keep the classes “as relevant as possible to the fast-moving modern sport”.

    “I am delighted to welcome to Burghley all six of our judges, who between them have countless years of expertise in the sport of eventing from every possible angle,” he said.

    “The BYEH final is where we hope to see the horses who, in years to come, will return here for the five-star competition, and is always very hotly contested.”

    The winner of the 2022 five-year-old final was Jack of Clubs, owned by Nicola Wilson’s mother Mary Tweddle, and ridden by Robyn Gray. The gelding is now competing at novice level with Ros Canter. The four-year-old final winner was the March Stud’s stallion Cupid March, who was ridden to victory by Piggy March, but died from colic this year.

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