The biggest equestrian event in Wiltshire is underway at Barbury International Horse Trials.
Some of the world’s best riders are already parked up at the site and today’s (Saturday) cross country is expected to draw big crowds.
Around 500 horses and riders will be competing in the grounds of Barbury Castle. 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.
Marlborough-based equine nutrition and feed producers Keyflow are the main sponsors. “I’m delighted to be sponsoring this,” said MD Cam Price. “It’s our local event, and a very important one for the eventing world.”
“We love hosting the Retraining of Racehorses Championship here at the Keyflow Feeds Barbury International Horse Trials. Anyone who enjoys following racing will have loved seeing these former stars of the racecourse show an entirely different side to their talents in this prestigious competition.”
The RoR 2022 honours went to Piggy March and the lovely grey gelding, Our Old Fella. 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 first running of Barbury Horse Trials was in 2005 when the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) was won by William Fox-Pitt and Ballincoola.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.The dressage phase for the CCI-S 3* is now complete and we have our leader board heading into tomorrow’s jumping phases. Tom McEwen holds the top spot with Alison Swinburn and John and Chloe Perry’s lovely gelding, Brookfield Cavalier Cruise.
The nine-year-old performed a super test with Tom to produce a score of 22.1. It has been a good couple of days all round for Tom, who has three horses placed in the top six in this class after dressage (Falaise De Riverland, fourth and Brookfield Braveheart, sixth).
France’s Astier Nicolas was the first rider to break the sub-30 barrier yesterday, posting a score of 28.1 with his first ride Babylon De Gamma, and he added another high-scoring test today with the gelding, Alertamalib’or.
Their score of 25.1 puts them into second place at this stage, ahead of the overnight leaders, Selina Milnes and Cooley Snapchat, who have moved into third.
Pippa Funnell has made a strong start to her weekend, filling the top two places in the CCI-S 4* at the halfway point of the dressage. Pippa holds the lead with the 13-year-old gelding, Billy Walk On (23.4) and has his stablemate, Billy Wonder just behind in second place on a score of 24.7. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto and Brookpark Vikenti complete the top three at this early stage.