Frog and Field go to Beautiful Barbury Castle
The hashtag beautiful Barbury was flying around social media all week and I was keen to see what was so special. There was a last minute change in plans and we headed up there super early Saturday morning. From the entrance to the estate we were blown away how stunning the setting was. Fields of white poppies surrounded us with rolling hills in the distance. It probably helped with the amazing weather we had been blessed with. Although as I write this the sunburn is stinging still-silly me!
The setting took our breath away. You park far up on a hill and as you look down you can see the main arena, a sprinkling of trade stands and the cross country course in the back ground. I have never been to an event where you can see 90% of the cross country course from one spot. Also there has clearly been a lot of thought put into its creation. The arena has banked sides so allows good viewing for a large number of people. There are large stones scattered around to perch on. Plus, the cross country course takes full advantage of undulating landscape meaning most fences can easily be seen. A welcome treat compared to the likes of Badminton and so on.
A special mention must go to the media tent. Sandy was so helpful and welcoming; it is always a welcome treat when you’re made to feel wanted. Programs in hand we trundled of to the cross country course to get a good spot. I always look for fences where the horse makes a nice shape. Tricky or skinny fences rarely lend themselves to pretty pictures as the horses often make bizarre shapes over them! What is good for the spectators isn’t always good for a photograph. I also try and find a spot where I can cover more than one fence. For this reason, I’ll always do a course walk and print of the map days before. I can normally get to about 5 fences if I run!
Barbury: Cross Country and Showjumping
The classes were huge, horse after horse flew around the cross country. Many going clear, a few hairy moments, some falls and some run outs. Time was tough though, most finished outside of time. Suspecting due to the hard ground meaning riders went steady to preserve their horse’s legs. The water jump was quite hairy with a fair old drop followed by the skinniest skinny. The Quarry also asked some questions and there were a few sticky moments there too. The course featured a lot of pretty jumps, the Stonehenge area being exceptionally pretty. Mary King showed us all how it was done and pulled up with the biggest smile on her. She was so friendly to everyone. Stopping and chatting but also looking like she truly wanted to be there. Fabulous to see.
Laura Collet also popped round making light work of the jumps as did Lissa Green and a number of others. Whilst all of this was going on there was some impressive 3* show jumping occuring in the main ring. We went for a nosy and managed to snap Laura Collet putting in a blinding clear round. Another super friendly face who always stops for a chat it’s a pleasure to be able to photograph her. Margaux got ants in her pants at this point so it was of for a stroll around the XC course, so dog friendly and easy to access.
Barbury: Hunt Relay
Lunch time rolled around and we parked up on the back with a scrummy burger to watch the relays. We’d taken a brolly for some shade and some iced water so Margaux was plenty comfortable. The hunt relay was insane! Flat to boards over some jumps, up the bank, through the water and back down the bank. Blooming brilliant fun to watch! Then came the eventer versus the jockeys. Having borrowed some of the hunts horses/ponies it was their turn. Again so competitive it was hysterical watching the like of Zara Tindall pony club kick her way up the bank and full pelt through the water. Everyone had a wonderful time, horses, riders and spectators. Awesome fun and one to watch next year.
By this point Mr Frog and Field had reached his horsey limit so I did a quick sweep around the shops and then we headed home. Full of sun and with some wonderful memories from a lovely day out. Another one to add to the 2018 Calender.