Clean Sweep for the Kiwis at Barbury

The Barbury International Horse Trials have a habit of falling on a weekend each year when world class sport is at its best and 2015 was no exception. Spectators are torn between keeping one eye on the Wimbledon Finals and the other across the spectacular natural amphitheatre that the challenging cross country test takes place in. The Australian riders did their best to generate a bit of Aussie pride following a disappointing start to the Ashes a few hours west of Barbury but there is no denying that this weekend belonged to the Kiwis.

“When I got on him yesterday to ride down to the dressage, he was very quiet, but when I got on him today, he squealed because he knew he was going to jump.” Nicholson said following his show jumping.

At the forefront of the Kiwi domination was local resident Andrew Nicholson. Torrential rain came down sporadically throughout the afternoon but it did nothing to stop Nicholson who took first and second place in the CIC***. New Zealand took top spot in all three CIC** classes as well as the top three spots in the biggest class of the competition.

Nicholson and Avebury were unstoppable from start to finish, taking out the CIC*** for an incredible fourth time in row. The 15 year old gelding flew around Captain Mark Phillips challenging and up to height cross country course, coming home 12 seconds under the optimum time. Nicholson also went double clear on his second ride Nereo, moving up from fourth after the dressage to take second.

“Avebury definitely knew where he was – he felt as if he really knew his way round and could have gone even faster,” said Andrew. “And I was thrilled with Nereo as well, who felt great. It’s a privilege to ride two horses like that.”

   Toddy and Leonidas II in the cross country yesterday 

Mark Todd rounded off the Kiwis domination in the top class, taking third place on Leonidas II. Toddy moved up from fifth place after the dressage following a superb double clear to finish on 38.4 penalties.  

New Zealand positively dominated the CIC** competition, taking out all three sections. Jesse Campbell led from start to finish in section D aboard Cleveland to finish on their dressage score of 39.5. “He’s been hard work, he’s talented but a bit of a maverick and I’ve had a few bloody noses on him. I’ve always believed in him, though. He’s a big beautiful horse.” Jesse said following the win.


   Jesse Campbell led from start to finish in section D aboard Cleveland


Ireland’s Camilla Speirs took second place on BT Cloud Nine and Italy’s Stella Benatti and Zaron took third on 45.5 penalties. Australia’s Emma Dougall and Fernhill Tabasco and Lucinda Fredericks and Little Britannia finished in 16th and 19th place respectively in what was a large and talented section.

Tim Price was all class in the CIC** Section C riding The Court Jester to a convincing win. The Court Jester is usually ridden by Australia’s Sammy Birch but Tim has taken on the ride whilst Sammy is pregnant. The pair hope to go to Blenheim later in the year and after finishing on their impressive dressage score of 36.1, they are set to be a force to be reckoned with.

Chris Burton and Santano II completed a very professional cross country round, finishing exactly on the optimum time. A clear in the show jumping earlier in the day and a decent dressage score of 39.4 left them with second place at the end of the competition. Mark Todd and Amacuzzi added to Kiwis huge presence on the podium, taking third place after adding 4.8 time penalties in the cross country phase to finish on a score of 41.8.



Wendy Schaeffer and Smokin Sun had one rail down in the show jumping and some time penalties to finish in 15th place. Lucinda Fredericks and Britannia’s Mail moved up the leader board following the dressage to finish in 19th place.

 In the CIC** Section B, Andrew Nicholson and Loughnatousa Joey moved up from sixth place after the dressage phase to take the win. Nicholson was quick across the country, being the only combination in his section to achieve the optimum time. A rail in the show jumping was still not enough to knock them from top spot and they finished on a penalty score of 42.7.


   Andrew Nicholson and Loughnatousa Joey


Great Britain’s Ella Hitchman and Rocky Rockstar took second place on 43.5. Gemma Tattersall and Santiago Bay finished in third place on 49.0 penalties. The Aussies helped fill up the top of the leader board in this section which was made up of 93 combinations. Chris Burton and Imperialist finished in 18th place on 68.0 penalties. Whilst Lucinda Fredericks and Cos I Will, Emma Dougall and Tenor De La Robiniere and Sam Griffiths and Isle Valley finished in 23rd, 24th and 25th place respectively.

Barbury International Horse Trials takes places over four days and the first two were filled with promising up and coming combinations in the lower levels. Sam Griffiths and Dushi Terma took second place in the Novice Section K, finishing on their dressage score of 23.3.


    Sam Griffiths and Isle Valley


Paul Tapner and Counterparty added four penalties in the show jumping in the Intermediate-Novice ‘Retraining of Racehorse’ Section L1 to finish in third place behind Mark Todd. Toddy led the competition from start to finish aboard NZB Ocean.


   Paul Tapner and Counterparty


The Retraining of Racehorse competition ended in a ‘Championship’ on Sunday with the top 10 placings going head to head in a jump off. Toddy won this convincingly and speaks very fondly of the special breed. "I love thoroughbreds, they have brilliant minds to work with.  I used to train racehorses in New Zealand and now we've just won a big Retraining of Racehorses class here at Barbury proving their versatility.” His win round off a fantastic weekend for New Zealand eventing, generating much excitement as we head in to the second half of the British Eventing season.

Article by Emily Penney