July 2017: St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials to introduce arena eventing & ERM commentary for all
Andrew Nicholson with Nereo on his way to his fifth consecutive Barbury CIC*** title in 2016 (Photo: Adam Dale)
The 2017 St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials, organised by the Event Rider Masters (ERM) Thursday, July 6 to Sunday, July 9, has announced its competition schedule. Two innovations are being added to the Barbury recipe: the introduction of Arena Eventing and a new form of live the live commentary broadcast around the Marlborough Downs site.
With over 1,000 horse and riders expected to compete across, visitors to this year’s Barbury International Horse Trials will see some of the best Eventing competitors in the world and some of the riders - British and from other nations - headed to the European Championships at Strzegom in Poland the following month.
The prestigious CIC*** competition and Leg 3 of the ERM series worth £50,000 in prize money, are once again the feature classes finishing on the Sunday, as well as the CIC** finishing on the Saturday. The novice and Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) sections are also confirmed for the Friday with the ROR Championship taking place on Saturday.
Barbury is renowned as ‘horse country’ with some of the world’s leading Event riders based within a stone’s throw of the Wiltshire estate. In fact, four of the top six finishing horse and rider combinations at last weekend’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials are based within miles of the event site. This includes the five times consecutive Barbury CIC*** winner Andrew Nicholson (NZL), who last year partnered Nereo to secure the third leg of the ERM series and his fifth Barbury title.
With ERM organising Barbury for the first time and the event featuring as leg three of the ERM 2017 series, commentary of the ERM cross-country phase will simultaneously be broadcast live across the event site as well as on ERM’s television live stream.
Due to the natural amphitheatre of the Barbury site nearly all of the cross-country course is visible from one spot. So wherever they are, spectators will hear the ERM commentary team providing additional insight with statistical analysis and guest commentary from high-profile riders.
Another first for Barbury will be the opportunity for visitors to ‘take the judge’s seat’ and score the ERM dressage on the Saturday. The SAP audience dressage judging app allows spectators to score each ERM dressage test in real time, generating audience scores and rankings. This system was first used at the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in the USA last month.
Grass roots participants in the sport of eventing will also be able to take their place at Barbury this year with BE90 and BE100 Arena Eventing being introduced for the first time on Thursday 6 July, located in the East arena.
Always popular with the Barbury crowd is the JCB Champions Challenge. This thrilling if often quirky race is confirmed as a main arena attraction on the Saturday and will feature the country’s very best jump jockeys and event riders going head to head. It will be run in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Barbury has also extended its range of dining and hospitality options for 2017. The Barbury Club offers guests a luxury hospitality experience, including a champagne reception, three course lunch and afternoon tea in the Finish Line marquee.
The Barbury Lounge offers guests the opportunity to enjoy the top-class sport whilst relaxing over an informal lunch.
The Barbury Business Club also offers a business networking opportunity including lunch on the Friday, with the horse trials providing a stunning and unique back drop for guests. With prices starting from £75pp there is something to suit every taste and budget.
Martyn Johnson, event director of the Barbury International Horse Trials believes ERM's innovations will enhance the Barbury experience: “With the technology enhancements including the live commentary of the ERM cross-country, we will provide additional added value to the visitor’s experience."
"We have a targeted ground care plan to ensure the best going possible for the horses with verti-draining and watering in place should it be required. It’s set to be another great year for Barbury and we welcome everyone to come and experience this iconic sporting Wiltshire spectacle”.
In addition to free entry on Thursday - as well as for children under 12 years across all days - there is up to a 40 per cent discount on tickets bought in advance via their website. Every ticket purchaser booking online joins a free prize draw to win a three-night break at the stunning Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal - provided by luxury tour operator Bailey Robinson.