Barbury Horse Trials with international stars of eventing - top horses - top riders - and there's fun for grown-ups & kids too
The St James's Place Barbury International Horse Trials this week (5-8 July) will see 1,000 eventing horses and some of the world's top riders competing on the Marlborough Downs. The event reaches a climax on Sunday with the final cross country round of the fourth leg of the 2018 series of the exciting Event Rider Masters (ERM) contest.
Laura Collett, who used to be based close to Barbury and who has had a string of great results this season, will be defending her place at the top of the ERM leader board. But the weather has caused her to take her horse Billy Bounce out of the ERM line-up - due to the hard ground. Even with the Marlborough Downs' renowned turf, the ground can get hard with so much sunshine and so little rain.
Laura will instead be riding Dacapo in the ERM rounds on Saturday and Sunday. She is definitely on a roll - and it was announced yesterday that she has made it to tenth place in the rankings compiled by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) for the world's top eventers.
The top three in the new FEI rankings put three riders are on the long-list for the British team to go to September's World Equestrian Games at Tryon, North Carolina. The new list also puts Marlborough based New Zealander Tim Price in fourth position. With his wife Jonelle moving up from 41st place (after her year off due to her pregnancy) to seventh place following her wins at Badminton and the Luhmuehlen CCI****.
Another local rider who has become synonymous with Barbury success is another New Zealander Andrew Nicholson who is based at Lockeridge. He will be riding Swallow Springs. And the other top New Zealand rider based in the Marlborough area, Sir Mark Todd will be anxious to get a first ERM victory - as will British rider William Fox-Pitt.
As well as eventing classes at lower levels giving everyday thrills on the cross country course, there will be another run of the JCB Champions' Challenge (Saturday). This pits a team of jockeys (including champion Richard Johnson) against a team of top eventers (including Sir Mark Todd and Jonelle Price) in a fast and furious charity relay race. All in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.
And there is the Shetland Grand National (for the first time at Barbury), meerkats, a dog agility display, and a 'kids zone'. Not to mention the shopping, the bars and the food outlets.
For tickets and further info go to the Barbury website.