French rider Tom Carlile has successfully defended his St James’ Place Barbury Castle International Horse Trials Event Rider Masters (ERM) title among blistering temperatures at the British fixture. Home rider, and the 2017 ERM champion, Gemma Tattersall (pictured) was second in this, the fourth leg of the 2018 ERM.

Hottest event yet

With temperatures soaring well above normal season averages, this was the hottest ERM event yet in every sense. Fewer than 20 combinations jumped clear around Mark Phillips’ cross-country course, while ‘Mr Stickability’ Andrew Nicholson parted company with his ride Swallow Springs.

Despite the tough course and conditions, Tom remained cool throughout to take the title once again with the 10-year-old Anglo-Arab stallion Upsilon, by Canturo. The pair led from the off, adding just 0.4 time penalties to their dressage score of 24.5 penalties.

“I was good in there huh?” said the French rider after the showjumping. “I rode it just like I’m meant to ride and it was good to put the ball back onto the pitch. He’s such a wonderful animal that the biggest danger is just us losing our concentration. After all we aren’t robots and blips happen. 

“Whether the course is tough or easy isn’t an issue with a horse like Upsilon, it’s just about switching our brains on.” 

‘So proud’

This was Gemma’s first podium finish this year. Her ride Pamero 4 played an important part in her series win last season, and he put in a classy performance in all three phases to finish on a score of 28.8 penalties.

“I just want to say thank you to Pamero 4 and owner Clive Smith — I’m so proud of the horse,” said Gemma. “The beginning of the season wasn’t easy as we have had a few injuries, but that is horses. We are chuffed to be back at beautiful Barbury and back on the podium.”

It was a great weekend for Gemma who was also third in the CIC3* with Chilli Knight, who is by the 2015 Badminton winner Chilli Morning.

Just behind Gemma in third place was Chris Burton on Polystar l, who won the Arville ERM leg two weeks ago. The fastest male event rider in the world didn’t disappoint on the cross-country, and he was the only rider to achieve the optimum time. Chris has now moved to the top of the series leaderboard, pushing Britain’s Laura Collett into second place.

Young talent

Laura collected some valuable series points by finishing ninth after a wonderful performance with Dacapo, who is another of her inexperienced three-star horses. Tina Cook (Billy The Red) and Nicola Wilson (One Two Many) finished in sixth and seventh place respectively.

Nicola also won the CIC3* with Bulana — the mare who took her to team gold and individual bronze at the European Championships last year.

The ERM series now heads to Haras de Jardy, France (July 14-15) which you can watch LIVE on Horse & Country.

We are also showing highlights of the Event Rider Masters at Barbury, while Jenny Rudall takes you behind the scenes at the St James’ Place Barbury Castle International Horse Trials in Rudall’s Round-Up.

Rudall’s Round-Up: Barbury premieres on July 16 8.30pm EST, which will be followed by the Event Rider Masters 2018: Barbury at 9pm EST. You can watch both shows by signing up to Horse & Country US.