Looking back, forward and around at Barbury

      The rolling hills make Barbury one of the best locations for watching cross country


In recent months we’ve been to castles and stately homes all over England – Chilham, Rockingham, Badminton .... but did you know that Barbury Castle isn’t a castle at all?

The name Barbury Castle refers not to the turrets and buttresses of your typical castle but to the set of ancient earthworks comprising an Iron Age hill fort, covering about 12 acres, adjacent round barrows, Celtic field systems and 18th-19th Century flint workings.

Located just outside of Marlborough in Wiltshire, the name Barbury has come to be synonymous with horses, not just through this event but through its involvement with top quality racing and training. Racehorses have been trained on these gallops since the early 1900s and Barbury Castle trainer Alan King now presides over one of the largest National Hunt training centres in the UK

Three times winner Avebury is trained on these gallops and returns this year to try and do it again with his jockey Andrew Nicholson but the competition, as always, will be tough.

There are two big sections of CIC3* at this year’s St James’s Place Wealth Management Barbury International Horse Trials with the brightest and the best among them – William Fox-Pitt, the in-form Nicola Wilson and last year’s runner-up Francis Whittington, just to mention a few.

In 2014 Chris Burton finished only one second over the cross country time to emerge the clear winner of the CCI2* Section D on Nobilis 18 – this year he returns with Imperialist and Santano II in the 2* classes. There are six sections of 2* packed with top names and horses ranging from up and coming stars to established heroes, including William Fox-Pitt’s Bay My Hero

The other good news is that the sheep are back! In the past we’ve loved the racing sheep but this time it’s the Dancing Sheep (possibly the same ones we saw at Rockingham unless there are multiple Dancing Sheep troupes out there) plus of course the JCB Champions Challenge, the Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier, the shopping, the show jumping and the Retraining of Racehorses Championship



The sad news is that two special horses that competed here last year are no longer with us but, looking through last year's great galleries by Libby Law we thought we'd share these special photos to remember them by - Harry Meade's Wild Lone (above) and Sam Griffiths' Favorit Z (below), both looking fabulous at Barbury 2014



If you can’t be there you can get close up and personal online by following through the lens of Libby Law in our daily photo galleries and our event round up.

You can also watch the live stream from Barbury by clicking here