Leg 3 of 2017’s Event Rider Masters is fast approaching and I can’t keep my excitement under wraps any more… The St James’ Place Barbury International Horse Trials is only days away!!

With the World’s top eventers set to battle it out around Captain Mark Phillips’ CIC3*, CIC2*, Intermediate and Novice courses this year’s event is set to be the best yet… The entries read like a who’s who and the inclusion of the ERM CIC3* class is only going to make it all the more incredible! Can you tell I’m getting giddy about it?!

From 6th – 9th July the Barbury Estate just outside Marlborough in Wiltshire transforms into a hive of activity when riders, owners, grooms, sponsors, spectators, traders and officials all descend on the impressive natural amphitheatre to witness & take part in some of the best Equestrian Sport in the Calendar.

This year promises to offer more action, attractions, shopping and entertainment than ever before with the addition of the Arena Eventing competition, the BYEH qualifier, Inter-Hunt relay, JCB Champions `Challenge (with none other than Zara Tindall at the helm of the Eventers’ team) and the innovative LIVE on-site Cross Country commentary I reckon it is going to be one not to miss.

Perhaps the most exciting thing for me though (as always) is the ERM section. The list of entries is unbelievably hot with 11 of the top 30 FEI Ranked Eventers in the world entered. Chasing the incredible 1st prize of £16,000 always gets the blood up and I can’t see this time being any different.

The most interesting of the ERM challenges, I think, come from the ever determined Gemma Tattersall – WINNER of Leg 1 of this years’ Masters Series at the Dodson and Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials and her new mount Pamero. The King of Barbury himself (and one of my all time heroes) Mr Andrew Nicholson will put up a huge fight in his quest to claim a 6th consecutive Barbury 3* victory with his seasoned 4* campaigner Nereo, who he last piloted to victory at Badminton in the Spring of this year. However, perhaps the most exciting combination to come forward, in my eyes, is Ollie Townend and the gorgeous and very special Cooley Masterclass who come here following back to back (2016 & 2017) Burnham Market CIC3* victories. You could say this pair are fairly unproven at this level but I have a feeling their performance this weekend could be very special! And we absolutely cannot discount the amazing Nicola Wilson and her gorgeous boy Coco (One Two Many) who are on fire at the moment!

I am genuinely so excited I could pop about the top level sport that Barbury is promising, and not just in the ERM section. The other two CIC3* sections are also out of this world entry-wise…

  • Andrew Nicholson has the beautiful grey Swallow Springs (who I know he thinks a lot of),
  • Ollie has Cooley SRS who is fairly unproven at this level but has very exciting form
  • William Fox-Pitt has the amazing Clifton Signature for only their second run and their first 3* as a partnership,
  • Laura Collett & the incredible 9 year old “FOD (finish on dressage) King” Mr Bass are looking to put Bramham behind them
  • Kitty King with Vendredi Biats come forward on the back of three consecutive wins and a run of 14 top 20 finishes
  • Zara Tindall and the boisterous Fernhill Facetime finished top 15 at Bramham and will be looking to better that
  • Tina Cook and Badminton 2017 top 10 finisher Billy the Red will be looking to cement their place on the Team GBR European’s team.
  • Tim Price and his Burghley 2016 top five partner, Ringwood Sky Boy are in with a shout
  • Bill Levett and Monart Sale graduate Lassban Diamond Lift (Sparkles to his friends) will be looking to put in a good performance after a disappointing Bramham
  • and
  • Sam Watson with Ardagh Highlight are possibly one of my favourite combinations of the whole event and come forward with a win at Ballindenisk CCI2* and a top ten at Belton CIC2* under their belts.

I definitely cannot call this one but we absolutely will witness some of the best Eventing Sport that this country has ever seen this weekend and I CANNOT WAIT!

I’m lucky enough to be joining the ERM gang down there on Friday so will get to witness all of the action from the best seats in the house but as ever, if you aren’t able to join us, (tickets are still for sale online http://www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk/new/tickets/?ftredirect=1), the ERM CIC3* will be streamed LIVE and for FREE at www.eventridermasters.tv… you might even spot me on there if they don’t keep me locked in a box this time 🙂