In just two weeks the Barbury International showground will be a hive of activity. This year’s event runs from 4th – 7thJuly and will, as usual, welcome riders from across the globe.
Over the four days of sport around 1,000 horses will be in action across a range of disciplines. Nineteen nations will be represented in the eventing classes, and amongst those entries there are more than 24 elite riders who have ridden for their country at World, Olympic and/or European Championships.
Notable in the line-up is local Kiwi rider Andrew Nicholson who brings eight horses, although only one is entered in the headline CCI4*-S competition – a class Andrew has won five times before. His single entry is well qualified, however; Swallow Springs finished 5that Badminton this year and 3rdat Burghley last September, the horse’s only two runs at the very top level.
Reigning Badminton champion Piggy French has seven entries over the weekend, pinning her hopes on Graf Cavalier in the 4*. Fellow gold medal winning team mate from last year’s World Equestrian Games, Tom McEwen has six horses at Barbury, while past World and European Champion Zara Tindall will also be joining legends of the sport, William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell, Jonelle Price and her World Number One husband Tim, the pair based at nearby Mildenhall, just outside Marlborough.
Ones to watch out of the 96 entries in the CCI4*-S headline class have to be Nicholson’s Swallow Springs and Tina Cook’s World Equestrian Games ride Billy The Red.
There are over 200 combinations entered in the CCI3*-S, which will be split into two sections. It’s hard to bet against Piggy French winning at least one of these. She brings forward Brookfield Inocent whose three results this season are two seconds and a first, also Brookfield Quality – winner on his last two outings, whilst although this is a step up for Sportsfield Top Notch, with four wins out of six runs this season you can’t write him off. Piggy’s fourth ride is Calling Card who denied William Fox-Pitt’s Georgisaurous the win at this level at Rockingham last month. William and Georgisaurous will no doubt be out to turn that around this weekend.
Away from the International eventing classes, well over 300 horses will be running in novice and intermediate national sections, mostly competing on the Friday, Thursday having played host to the Dubarry Burghley Young Event horse competitors.
The Champions Challenge and Inter-Hunt relay are scheduled for Saturday, with the Pony Club showjumping, Shetland Grand National and Arena Eventing due to take place on the Sunday.
Entry to the event on Thursday 4this free of charge – gates open at 8am. To buy tickets for Friday through to Sunday, and for more information, visitwww.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk.