The Barbury Horse Trials takes place in July each year, with the showcase class running at CCI4*-S level.
Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, overlooked by an Iron Age hill fort, it is considered one of the most prestigious one-day events in Britain and offers excellent viewing for spectators. Designed by Captain Mark Phillips, the cross-country course utilises old turf gallops, and promises good going across well-drained chalkland.
Many riders and nations use Barbury as a final selection or preparation event ahead of the year’s championship and there is always a high quality field for the top CCI4*-S class. The event has also hosted a leg of the Event Rider Masters (ERM) in the past.
The first running of Barbury Horse Trials was in 2005 when the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) was won by William Fox-Pitt and Ballincoola.
Andrew Nicholson has been the most successful rider at Barbury, taking the showcase class every year from 2012 to 2015 with Rosemary Barlow’s Avebury. He was crowned the “King of Barbury” for the fifth time in 2016, when he won the third leg of that year’s ERM series at Barbury, riding Nereo.
As well as the CCI4*-S, Barbury has a CCI3*-S class and novice sections, plus a retrained racehorse championship. The main arena – which incorporates both a water jump and a slope up and down between levels – also plays host to various novelty classes and displays through the weekend, such as the popular jockeys versus event riders challenge in aid of charity.
In 2020, Barbury was one of the first horse trials to take place when eventing returned as the Covid-19 lockdown eased. It ran as a national fixture, with classes from BE100 to open intermediate.
Barbury Horse Trials has had a couple of changes of management over the years and is currently run by Alec Lochore’s company, Musketeer Event Management.