Sarah Wells Gaston and Ruth Gregory

There was a rather different look to British Eventing’s fixture at Barbury this year. But the event still provided competitors with a stunning backdrop as eventing got back underway.

Familiar faces and amateurs filled the entries after a long 4 month wait.

Although, the iconic 4* class didn’t feature, there was a new addition with BE100 classes to accommodate the large number of riders wishing to get their season underway.  

Amongst the winners were Australia’s Samantha Lissington who topped Section J with Ricker Ridge Ricochet – her first win on the British Eventing scene. The New Zealand Native moved to the UK to in 2019 in order at the top level of eventing, with her sights set on making the New Zealand eventing team for Tokyo. 

Holly Simms won the and Kalypso D Buisson Z won the BE100 Open Section G with the lowest score of the weekend of 19.8, in what was only their second event together. Matthew Selby and Fleetwater Carpaccio topped BE100 Open Section K. 

Eventing’s emerging power couple Jesse Campbell and Georgie Strang had a great start to the season at their local event. Georgie was the winner in BE100 Section H with Speedwell whilst Jesse topped Novice Section N with Global Candy Boy, narrowly pipping Georgie into second on Global Halifax. 

They said; “It was fantastic to be back out and all the horses put in great performances, which is a huge credit to our amazing team’s hard work over the last few months of lockdown.” 

It was a dream eventing debut for the new partnership of Ellie Frederick’s and Britannia’s Mail, they led the ON Section D from start to finish on their dressage score of 25.5.
A win made extra special as it came 12 years after Lucinda won the international class with the talented mare Headley Britannia.

“My mum was probably the most excited about the win as for me to win on Brit’s son as the same place Brit won was really special!
We went just aiming for a clear cross country, so I came out of the dressage and went straight to the show jumping where he jumped clear, I was over the moon as my confidence isn’t the best in that phase. I was expecting a low 30 dressage score as I’m still getting to grips with how to ride him so when my friend told me we got 25.5 I was definitely shocked and so was mum as no one has ever led the dressage on him!

As for the cross country he was mega and definitely excited to be out, I remember coming to fence 10 and thinking how much my arms were aching, but he just loved it so much. It’s such an amazing feeling sitting on something that knows what they’re doing!”

Swedish rider Therese Viklund and Viscera kicked off their season in fine fashion by winning the OI Section L, being the only combination in the section to post a sub 30 dressage score of 29.9.

“It felt really good to win our first run of the year. We’ve been waiting to start the season for months and it’s nice that after all the training we’ve been doing during that time has paid off. Viscera was a bit fresh in the dressage, but the jumping and cross country felt easy, I’m very pleased with her.”

Finishing in second was Bob Champion ridden by Team GB medallist Tom McEwen, as he also got his year off to a flying start with two wins and a string of top results. He was the winner in Intermediate Section M with Coilbre De Riverland – he also took third in this section on Cassianna de Riverland, with the second win coming in Novice Section A with Spring Morning. Out of his ten rides over the weekend, McEwen had seven top ten placings. 

He said; “All the horses are very well; all were very keen to be back out eventing.”

Another double victor was Hector Payne who topped Nobice Section C with Hero RFH and BE100 Section I with Opposition Equites. Payne was placed on the top 10 on each of his six rides. 

After the event, organiser’s Muskateer Events said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better restart to the season.” 

Other results: Novice Section B Gubby Leach, James Bond Van’t Akkerhoff; Open Novice Section D Ellie Fredericks, Britannias Mail; Open Novice Section E Lucy Wheeler, King Creole VD N Ranch; Intermediate Novice Section F Rose Nesbitt, EG Michealangelo; Open Intermediate Section L Therese Viklund, Viscera; Novice Section O Sarah Way, Jumbo Jones.

Images courtesy of Sophie Jade Robins

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