As the heatwave spreading across the UK started to reach full force, the competition at the Keyflow Feeds Barbury International Horse Trials in Wiltshire was also hotting up this weekend.
Mollie Summerland and Charley Van Ter Heiden took an early lead in the CCI-S 4* on Saturday morning with a record-breaking dressage score of 18.7 – the best four-star dressage test by a British rider since Izzy Taylor with Orlando at Bramham in 2014, which was also 18.7!
They remained in the top spot after show jumping and all eyes were on them as they set off around Alec Lochore’s challenging cross country course. The crowds were not disappointed. They delivered one of the standout rounds of the day and sealed the coveted 4* title at Barbury.
“It’s lovely to win here,” said Mollie. “This is our local event, we’re only 10 minutes away. Charly was just pipped to the post by the King of Barbury, Andrew Nicholson in 2019 – so it’s really nice to get our name on this title!
“I’m absolutely thrilled with Charly today. He did two really nice jumping rounds. He was fantastic in the show jumping, I just made a small mistake; then in the cross country I wanted to look after him and take it steady on some of the turns, but I also wanted to really make sure I attacked the fences and rode positive into the water, and he gave me a great feeling. He finished sound and happy and that’s all I could have wanted from him.”
Of her outstanding dressage score, Mollie added, “I definitely wasn’t expecting a record-breaking score. I don’t think you ever can come out of a test and expect something like that. I knew that I was really happy with him, and I hoped that we’d be quite near the top because he did do a lovely test, but it was definitely unexpected. It was nice that the judges really enjoyed watching him as well. They spoke to me when we came out and were very happy with him. It’s always nice when they compliment you at the end.”
Another good cross country round for Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On saw them hold on to second place – meaning that the top two places remained unchanged throughout all three phases of the competition. Beyond those two it was a different story, however, with one of the best rounds of the day propelling Fiona Kashel and Creevagh Silver De Haar up from outside the top 20 to complete the podium in third.
The incredible natural amphitheatre of Barbury’s landscape and the viewing platform that it provides for spectators makes it worthy of some superb sport; and the cross country certainly proved to be influential for both international classes throughout the weekend.
With a number of the top placed combinations in the 3* choosing to give their horses a steadier, educational run in the cross country, the door was opened for some serious gains to be made by those who were able to deliver quick clear rounds – something that our winners, Alex Bragg and the 12-year-old mare, Quindiva did in style. Two super jumping rounds left them on their dressage score of 28.7 and saw them take the 2022 CCI-S 3* title.
The pair were just inside the top ten after dressage, a position that Alex could see had potential. “Quindiva did a really good dressage test that left her lying tenth and in a good position for the jumping phases,” he said. “The main arena at Barbury is spectacular and she jumped a wonderful [show jumping] clear. She’s very talented in that sphere.
“The cross country is always difficult for the time because it is very undulating – you’re on the side of the bank and you are always up and down or turning, so you need a very athletic sort of horse and Quindiva is certainly that. She pulled off a great cross country round, really, really scopey. We finished on our dressage score and pulled off a convincing win actually, a few marks ahead of the rest of the field. Her owners are happy, I’m happy, the team’s happy and I have been enjoying the win in this wonderful atmosphere, so thanks to Barbury and to Musketeer.”
Max Warburton and the Nicholson’s Monbeg Exclusive finished on their dressage score of 32.6 to leap up the order into second and Wills Oakden and Cooley Pot of Gold completed the top three – another combination to benefit from strong jumping performances.
Alongside the International classes, visitors to the event were also able to enjoy an array of Novice classes across the four days – including a Pony Trial, the ROR Championship and the prestigious Novice Masters.
Full results are available on the Eventing Scores website here.