1. World-famous riders
Have Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson been your life-long heroes? Do you psyche yourself up to go cross-country by imagining you are Jonelle Price or Izzy Taylor? Do you have a secret crush on Oliver Townend – or Laura Collett? Come and watch them – and meet them if you are lucky – at the St James’s Place Barbury Horse Trials (5-8 July).
2. Incredible horses
From four-star winners and World Equestrian Games hopefuls to stunning youngsters starting out on their competitive careers – Barbury has them all. Around 1,000 beautiful, talented horses will compete throughout the four days of the event.
3. Three days of cross-country
Barbury’s cross-country tracks have a completely fresh look this year. On Friday (6 July) the novice horses tackle Olympic gold medallist and former world champion Blyth Tait’s bold but encouraging novice cross-country course. Mark Phillips, probably the most famous course-designer in the world, is responsible for Saturday’s CIC2* and Sunday’s CIC3* tracks, which will require real focus and ability from these more experienced horses.
4. The fourth leg of the Event Rider Masters series
The Event Rider Masters (ERM) series of competitions – worth £50,000 in prize-money – are the sport of eventing’s most exciting innovation in recent years. The entries for the ERM class at Barbury are out of this world, so come and watch them strut their stuff in the dressage on Saturday and then battle it out in the showjumping and cross-country phases on Sunday. Who will make it on to the top of the podium on Sunday afternoon?
5. The best National Hunt jockeys v top eventers
The JCB Champions’ Challenge on Saturday in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund is brilliant fun. Top jocks (including current champion and 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Richard Johnson) take on eventers, including Sir Mark Todd and Badminton winner Jonelle Price, in a fast and furious relay race over jumps in the main arena.
6. More than just horses…
We have meerkats! Our new ‘kidzone’ has loads of fun things for children to do, and includes a mini-zoo and the aforementioned furry friends. There’s also have-a-go dog agility, a fun dog show, a super-cool dog agility masterclass demonstration and the Shetland Pony Grand National. We know Shetlands are horses (well, ponies), but they are too cool not to mention…
7. The best setting you could imagine
When the weather’s this good, it’s just really lovely to be in the open countryside with spectacular views over this stunning part of Wiltshire. Chill in the shade or soak up the sun – it’s up to you. Lots of really yummy fresh food and drink choices available!
Dance your socks off at Barbury alongside the riders on both Friday and Saturday night (if you’ve got the energy). You must buy an entrance ticket to the horse trials in advance, though.
To buy tickets and for more information, visit www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk.
Bottom Left Picture: Christopher Burton
Bottom Right Picture: Tina Cook
Credit to Benjamin Clark Photography and Adam Dale for the pictures.