|Barbury Castle Horse Trials|
I got up way too early this morning, cantered the horse, arrived at work early, got the important things out of the way, and promptly left headed to Barbury for a few hours to “walk the dog” and see how things were shaping up for the weekend.
The lorry park was tightly packed, so full classes all round. We’d had rain most of the night and all morning, but by the time I arrived it was dry enough for the dust to be kicked up off the stone tracks, but the turf here is so thick, well established and well maintained the going is pretty decent, and usually always is these days.
This is one of the few big events that isn’t set in a stately home, despite what the name of the event might imply, but all the same it’s one of the best vistas in eventing. Set amongst the gallops of Alan King’s racing yard, and surrounded by farm land where the ascetics of the crops are as important as the yield, this really is the most fabulous setting. I remember competing here a few years ago and wandering down to the dressage through wild flower meadows, set against a sea of flowering linseed. This truly is God’s green and pleasant land, and in amongst my favourite part of the world.
Although you can see a lot of the course from the main show site, you still have to walk it to experience the action, and appreciate just how fit both you and horse need to be.
Friday was all about CIC dressaaage, and the novice one day classes, I watched Mark Todd ride Major Milestone in the CIC*** dressage in the main arena, and he just looks so relaxed, like he’s out for a Sunday hack or given he was in top hat and tails, perhaps off to church. After one more test, I just had to head off to see some of the novice cross country. This is quite a big novice course, and although I didn’t walk it today I know from previous experience it has some big brush fences, some one stride drops, and a trakhener that a lot of horses look at.
Anyway enough waffle from me, I’m going back over the weekend, when hopefully I might get more of a handle on the competition itself, in the meantime here’s a few photos I managed to grab in between rain showers and the dog trying to steal ice-cream from passing children:
If you’re sat at home wondering what to do with your weekend. Go to Barbury! There’s a Jazz Festival going on in town too (Marlborough).