Barbury Horse Trials

Barbury Horse Trials takes place in an area of outstanding natural beauty, overlooked by an Iron Age hill fort. It has been considered one of the most prestigious one-day events in Britain, hosting classes up to CCI4*-S until 2022, while offering excellent viewing for spectators thanks to the natural bowl of the landscape.

Andrew Nicholson pictured on Swallow Springs at Barbury in 2021.

Andrew Nicholson pictured on Swallow Springs at Barbury in 2021.

Many riders and nations have used Barbury as a final selection or preparation event ahead of the year’s championship and there was 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.

However, British Eventing’s new rule which prevents events hosting FEI classes from also hosting unaffiliated competitions has caused the event to break away from the governing body. In 2023 it will be hosting two unaffiliated events instead (27-28 May and 14-16 July) with its cross-country course utilising old turf gallops on well-drained chalkland.

Barbury Horse Trials history

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 used to run 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 – played 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 is currently run by Alec Lochore’s company, Musketeer Event Management.