The crowds at Barbury International Horse Trials were treated today with two CIC*** classes, the usual climatic class of the event plus leg 3 of the new Event Riders Master Series. Showjumping for the ERM Class meant a fair few penalties were added to scores, and even Sir Mark Todd’s Leonidas was left ‘licking his wounds’ after adding 31 penalties to his impressive dressage score (40.1).
Andrew Nicholson emerged as the leader going to the cross country, and during a tense interview after showjumping mentioned he preferred the cross country course from last year, rather than this year’s offering. Andrew has so many completions inside the time including numerous on this year’s leading mount Nereo, the only doubt over his victory was his own desire to ride at speed and put himself under pressure so shortly after his return to riding. In the other CIC*** class, earlier in the day, he was riding very comfortably at speed on both his rides despite not pushing for the time.
Watching him go round it’s possibly the first time I’ve thought much about his riding style particularly in between fences. He rides very upright between fences, even over short distances, compared to say Andrew Hoy who rides very close to the saddle. I wonder if this is to conserve energy as he is a tall rider? I guess staying closer to the saddle would burn more energy in your legs.
Needless to say he and Nereo stayed ahead of the clock to win the ERM CIC*** class, picking up £16K in prizemoney and 30 pts. for the ERM Series rankings.
On the subject of rankings, I took a quick look at the current rankings and made a few observations (not criticisms). The points system seems to be weighted towards participation rather than podium places (eg. coming consistently in the top 10 will serve you better than winning one or two events.). Jesse Campbell is 8th in the rankings currently with 32 pts. but zero prizemoney. This put him ahead of of Alex Hua Tian & Andrew Nicholson who have both won a class giving them 30 pts. each. Gemma Tattersall currently heads the rankings with 66pts earned from 3rd, 4th & 11th placings, which means Alex or Andrew couldn’t take the lead in the next leg at Gatcombe Park, even if they won.
The main CIC*** class was won by Chris Burton who sailed round never looking at risk. His horse, Polystar I, looked amazing giving ever fence plenty of room. His win was made a little more assured after both Pippa Funnel & Tina Cook withdrew. I’m not sure why Pippa withdrew but I suspect Tina’s withdrawal had something to do with an earlier fall from her other ride today.
It was great to see Sarah Cohen back on the podium (3rd) with her lovely horse Treason, whom I remember admiring when they won at Belton a few years ago. My co-founder in HorseHub, Paul Tapner, had a good weekend too, he picked up 4th & 5th in the main CIC*** class plus 2nd in the ERM CIC*** class to put him in second place on the ERM Rankings Table. That’s got to bring a tear to Aussie selectors’ eyes!
One rider that kept appearing in my view finder was Flora Harris (7th in the CIC***), and I have to say how impressed I was with her skill and poise on the cross country. She’s incredibly focussed and sure to be destined for a senior team place in one of the big championships before too long. What a lovely grey Cooley Lord Lux is too.
It’s been another truly memorable and beautiful Barbury, I’m so grateful to Nigel Bunter and his team, you can’t beat having such a great event on your doorstep. Here are a few more photos from today.