The Best Laid Plans

My Own Personal Gym

I’m loving the weather this week, I don’t mind the cold too much as long as it’s dry and means I have an opportunity to dust of my sunglasses. The eventing season is under way, and whilst Mark Todd may turn to Yoga, or Jay Halim may turn to Zumba classes, I break out the mountain bike and Lizzie the labrador to warm my muscles up in preparation for riding.

With a few days of sunshine in the forecast I plan to make the most of the weather this week, before stepping on a transatlantic flight to San Francisco. Cycling around the forest today got me thinking about my plans for the year ahead, and particularly which events I should go and spectate at. I plan to go to a few overseas events this year, particularly in the US, and have Rolex Kentucky on my definite list, and amongst others, Rebecca Farm on my list of possibles. Pau, Luhmuhlen & Beokelo are all places I’d like to revisit as well.

The Savernake Forest 

The “big three” (Badminton, Burghley, Blenheim) are obvious crowd pullers and ones that many people make a holiday of. The 2 four stars have the shopping extravaganzas that many live for, and I particularly like Blenheim, not only for it’s stunning scenery and ancient oaks, but also it’s proximity to Oxford, a city with vibrant night life, and home to one of my old companies. Also, did you know, you can land a small jet at Kidlington airport, walking distance from the horse trials!

So, anyway, there I am tootling round the forest with the labrador, admiring our own local ancient woodland, when I realise how lucky we are to have Barbury CIC*** on our doorstep, and if we didn’t live here, this would be another event on our “weekend away list”. So here’s my pitch:

I’ve been to Barbury now as a spectator, rider, groom, supplier, and sponsor’s guest, so I’ve seen most of what there is to see from every angle, and I love it! The organisers will pitch that “you can see the whole of the cross country course from one spot”.  But that’s only true is you have the eyesight of an eagle, and anyway that’s not the way to enjoy the cross country action. What the layout of the showground does do is make it very easy to get round and see the whole thing in not much time at all, which means you can revisit bits time and time again.

Marlborough High Street

It’s also not far from Marlborough, home to the widest high street in England, Polly’s Tea Rooms, a bunch of smart eateries and during Barbury weekend, also hosts the Marlborough Jazz Festival [“nice”]. Then of course there is the Savernake Forest if you enjoy a little light exercise, and a ramble, it’s a fabulous 10 sq miles of ancient woodland to explore.

Make a weekend of it and stay in one of the hotels in Marlborough, Hungerford, or one of my favourites,  either The Pheasant at Shefford Woodlands or The Pelican at Froxfield. Here’s a few photos and a bit of video from last year’s event:

Come to Barbury, make a weekend of it!

Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.


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