British international rider and judge diagnosed with terminal cancer

  • The former British international dressage rider and judge Barry Marshall has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    Barry, 68, represented Britain on several occasions during the 1970s with Othello, and was also chef d’equipe to the British dressage team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. More recently, he has had a very successful career in carriage driving, which he took up competitively in 2002, with his wife Leonie.

    “I have a tumour in the liver and unfortunately there isn’t very much that can be done,” Barry told H&H. “But I have to go on as usual – I’m still mucking out and driving the ponies around.”

    During his FEI judging days, Barry was known for being fair and bold, if sometimes hard to please.

    “I remember Pammy Hutton telling me she had put one of her test sheets on the wall because I had given her a nine,” he said.

    Pammy added: “After tests judged by Barry full of fives and sixes, but always with constructive criticism, finally I had a nine at a quite important competition. I put the sheet on the wall of our loo, and I still have it somewhere!

    “Barry was a top judge – fair and almost too brave! I hated his low marks but he was always right. And he always stuck to his guns.”

    As a List 1 international judge, Barry’s judging accolades include World Cup shows across Europe.

    “Harmony between horse and rider is what pleased me the most as a judge – I like seeing a happy pair. I’m glad this is being rewarded nowadays, and horses are a lot rounder and softer,” said Barry.

    “Back in my early days, everyone thought the poll being the highest point was very important, but if you look at most modern horses, the poll actually can’t be the highest point. When I look back at pictures now, I notice that the poll being so high caused hollowness, but it was quite an obsession at the time.”

    Barry notes the moment he received his Union Flag pocket badge as one of the highlights of his multi-faceted career.

    “No man in the country had got the Union Flag in dressage before – of course, I came before the likes of Chris Bartle,” says Barry, who rode for Britain alongside the likes of Jennie Loriston-Clarke.

    Jennie described Barry as a “stylish rider with plenty of feel for his sensitive horse Othello”.

    “He is very respected as a dressage judge – he is extremely honest, has a very good eye and his comments are clear and helpful,” she said. “He would always give his time to help you with his advice for your improvement in a very approachable manner.

    “Barry has a great sense of humour and has always been able to always see the funny side of any disaster!”

    Barry added: “I was never right at the top when I was competing – my last grand prix horse came off the boat from Ireland for £600. But there were so many special moments nonetheless. And being chef d’equipe to the Olympic team was marvellous.”

    Among the riders on that Barcelona dressage team was Carl Hester, competing at his first Olympic Games on Giorgione.

    “Chefs d’equipe always have to have a very strong personality, and Barry certainly did – I called him Bazil, and later nicknamed him Muttley after the cartoon because of his hilarious laugh,” Carl told H&H.

    “He handled all of us riders with incredible ease and humour. He relaxed the situation and even though it was an Olympic Games, he kept the pressure off with humour and jokes – I don’t think I have ever laughed so much; he had us crying with laughter,” added Carl, who rode alongside Emile Faurie, Laura Fry and Carol Parsons to finish team seventh.

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