|Andrew Nicholson & Avebury | Lead The CIC*** From Start To Finish|
The New Zealanders owned Barbury CIC*** from the very beginning, and very nearly gave it all away in the closing minutes of the competition. After phase 2, the showjumping, all three top slots were occupied by much fancied NZ team selections; Andrew Nicholson, Jock Paget & Mark Todd.
|Jock Paget | The Long Walk Home|
Barbury 3* always finishes with the cross country phase, and run in reverse order, creating the perfect climax to the weekend of sport. Jock Paget, in second place and second last to go, left the start box cruising through the first part of the course on Clifton Lush with very little to do in order to prove his worth, but tipped up at the first water, not a difficult fence, but one that perhaps required too little effort to ride through. They were reunited for the long walk home but of the competition. Fellow kiwi, Mark Todd was already on course ahead of him, and seconds later eliminated himself by missing out a fence.
|Andrew Nicholson & Quimbo | 2nd in the CIC***|
This left current leader, Andrew Nicholson, with an 8 point advantage over this other horse Quimbo before leaving the start box. Nicholson left nothing to chance and cruised around the course under the optimum time on Avebury to secure 1st and 2nd slot.
The New Zealand Team are announcing their riders tomorrow, in a pub, not too far from me! Even with Mark Todd’s senior moment, and Jock Paget’s ducking at Barbury, it would be hard to imagine good reason why either of these two won’t be joining Andrew Nicholson on the team.
|Neville Bardos & Boyd Martin | Quick & Neat Before The Fall|
Bad luck for the Kiwis, was good luck for the British & American riders. The US Team Shortlist was not having the best start to the selection trial with some lower than anticipated dressage scores. Phillip Dutton on the much heralded Mystery Whisper, was one of the few forced to endure dressage in the pouring rain, scoring only 48 compared to sub 40 scores previously seen at this level. US fortunes on cross country didn’t start too well either when Neville Bardos catapulted Boyd Martin out of the saddle at the main water fence, on what was looking to be a nice, gentle, smooth run.
|Opposition Buzz | Headed To Greenwich|
As the day worn on that water fence rode better, but other fences on the course started to exert influence. The Americans held their own and US starlet Tiana Coudray matched Boyd Martin’s flair and class on cross country to finish just ahead of him in 5th place. The rest of the US team produced copy book rounds with very little to criticise, not exactly what the selectors had in mind to make their job easier! (they will probably announce their team before I finish writing this post)
The British had a day of mixed fortunes too. Lucy Weigersma came 3rd on Simon Porloe but was forced to retire Woodfall Inigo Jones due to injury. She narrowly beat Oliver Townend on the handy little Pepper Anne, and Opposition Buzz (Nicola Wilson) finished on his dressage score of 53.6, and I hear will now replace Piggy French’s DHI Topper [on TeamGB] who has sustained injury after his third here in the CIC**.
It was a day of high class eventing, the likes of which you will rarely see again, thanks to the inclusion of the US team shortlist, and almost all the very best eventers based here in the UK. The weather was on our side, the going was pretty spot on, plus there was all manner of entertainment, food and beverage to entice you away from the main competition.
So much about Barbury Castle Horse Trials screams ‘the best of eventing’. Few, if any, venues can match Barbury for terrain, going, and location. It doesn’t have the grand surrounds of Badminton, Burghley, Chatsworth or Blenheim, and sadly doesn’t have the cell phone coverage we all rely on these days, but it has all the ingredients of what makes this sport exciting and enjoyable. I take my hat off to the small group of people that conceived the idea of Barbury (I have a photo of them sat on a wall somewhere), and in particular to Nigel Bunter, Chris Musgrave, and Holly Farr who have continued to produce a tier one event so rapidly, and last but by no means least Sandy Thwaits and her crew who keep the press wheels turning. Judging by the continued support of main sponsors St James’ Place, and the lavish looking hospitality the Barbury team are doing a great job of promoting the sport to a wider audience too.
Here’s a few useful links:
I usually come away from an event, having spotted a horse I’d most like to take home. At Barbury, apart from everybody’s favourite (Opposition Buzz), yesterday I spotted three. Here they are:
|Rathmoyle King | Because I Like A Nice Rock Solid Dependable Grey|
|Imperial Cavalier | All The Hallmarks Of A Classic Eventer inc. the “Preying Mantis” Jump Technique|
|Otis Barbotiere | Smooth As Silk With A Lovely Technique (Just The Right Size Too)|