World’s best event riders set for Barbury battle - as Andrew Nicholson targets sixth consecutive Barbury win
New Zealander eventer Andrew Nicholson, who is based near Marlborough at Lockeridge, has his sights set on his sixth Barbury CIC*** title in a row. Nicholson, pictured above at home with Nereo, is currently ranked the world number two event rider.
He will bring eight horses to compete across the four days at the St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials - 6- 9 July.
Sixteen nations are represented and over 1000 horse and rider combinations will compete, featuring some of the best in the world.
The stage is set for this world class sporting and equestrian spectacle with a packed programme - including:
• Leg 3 of the 2017 Event Rider Masters (ERM) series
• One international CIC*** competition
• Three international CIC** competitions
• British Eventing, Arena Eventing, Burghley Young Event Horse classes and the Retraining of Racehorses Championship
• Other equestrian events include the Hunt Scurry, Pony Club showjumping and all the fun of the JCB Champions Challenge - with many famous riders taking part
Most notable of Andrew Nicholson’s entries at Barbury is his 2017 Badminton hero Nereo who, at seventeen years young, will aim to defend his 2016 Leg 3 Event Rider Masters crown.
Prior to last year’s victory on Nereo, Andrew had won the previous four Barbury CIC*** competitions riding the grey Avebury - a favourite with the crowds.
However, with a mouth-watering line up of forty of the world’s best horses and riders in the Event Rider Masters competition this year, Andrew will have to produce another world class performance to continue his Barbury achievements.
Between them, the ERM field boasts an impressive medal haul at team and individual Olympic, World and European championship level. Some riders to note, but certainly not restricted to are:
• Former double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd (NZL) and his 2016 Rio horse Leonidas II
• Winner of legs 4 and 5 and the 2016 ERM series champion Oliver Townend (GBR) riding Cooley Master Class
• Thomas Carlile (FRA), who is making the trip across the channel to Barbury with his grey stallion Upsilon. This combination has an impressive ERM record winning Leg 6 in 2016 as well as delivering podium finishes at leg 4 in 2016 and at the first 2017 leg earlier this year.
With the ERM cross country run on the Sunday afternoon and riding in reverse order, the scene will be set for a nail biting display of eventing action right until the very last horse and rider set out on the famous Marlborough Downs course.
Nicholson says Nereo is ready for Barbury: "We have been cantering him and other Barbury-bound horses on the estate’s all-weather gallop. This will be his first run since his Badminton win, he is in good form and our aim is to secure a sixth Barbury title and the ERM leg."
"The riders are really targeting the ERM series now as the prize money is such a great incentive, which could make my job of defending the ERM and Barbury crown even tougher!"
“The ERM series is fantastic for eventing as it’s important for the future of the sport to reach wider audiences via the TV coverage. With Barbury being organised by ERM this year and with some new interesting spectator initiatives planned along with a world class field, I expect everyone will enjoy a great showcase of eventing action."
"I look forward to seeing everyone at #Barbury2017!”
Advance discounted tickets and hospitality for the St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials are available to book at Barburyhorsetrials.co.uk until 6pm before Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the trials.
Tickets will then be available to purchase on the gate. Thursday: Free entry, Friday: £10pp, Saturday and Sunday: £20pp. Under 12’s go free.
For information Barburyhorsetrials.co.uk or @BarburyCastle or #Barbury2017 or Facebook Barbury International Horse Trials.
Lead photo of Nicholson and Nereo at home at Lockeridge by Catherine Burrell