Nina Barbour is the organiser of the Bolesworth Showjumping Classic and Country Fair where the first qualifier for the 2011 Express Eventing Series will take place on Saturday, June 11.

2011 Badminton winner, Mark Todd and former Badminton and Burghley winner, Oliver Townend will both compete at Bolesworth, which is also home to Harthill Stud a new sport horse breeding venture run by Nina and Oliver.

This year the compact thrill a minute version of eventing is to be rolled out nationally. The Express Eventing Series 2011 will see dressage, cross country and showjumping being completed in one arena and is to be integrated within five prestigious and established annual shows throughout the country.

Nina has been talking to Louise Elliot about the addition of Express Eventing to her prestigious show.

LE: How did you first get into horses?

NB: My parents were never into horses, so I started learning to ride with friends at a local riding school. I eventually persuaded them to buy me a pony at the age of about 9, and I think they regretted that decision ever since!!

LE: What was it that made you establish the Bolesworth Showjumping Classic?

NB: Being involved in the sport gave me the interest together with the fact that Bolesworth seemed an obvious venue to hold a big event. It really appealed to me that British Showjumping allowed a new venue to have a new event with a really high level prize fund and standard, which meant we could start as we meant to go on and attract the best riders in the country to compete.

LE: Why did you decide to bring Express Eventing to Bolesworth?

NB: We were really excited when we were selected to hold an Express Eventing Qualifier, as this was a way of integrating our showjumping event with the sport of Eventing in a manageable and affordable way. We had already held a really successful Eventing Grand Prix the year before and felt that having Express Eventing would build on this and be a fantastic spectacle for our visitors.

LE: What are your future plans for the Estate?

NB: We have countless future plans for the Estate, but the biggest and most exciting project is the proposed Stud at Harthill which the Estate is due to build as soon as the planning permission has been finalized. I have already been building up the stud business over the last 18 months, which is a joint venture with Oliver Townend, and we are accumulating stock headed by our 2 stallions Power Blade and Honour Cruise, with the aim of producing top class event horses.

LE: What do you think Express Eventing means for the future of the sport?

NB: I think that Express Eventing is a great way of bringing more recognition to the sport of Eventing, as it is a very spectator and TV friendly event, and also a great event to fit in to other established events without the huge expense associated with putting in a full Cross Country course. We are very much looking forward to our qualifier on 10th June, and watching some really class competitor’s battle it out for places in the final at the Horse of the Year Show.


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