Blyth Tait will be having a different view of St James’ Place Barbury International Horse Trials this year. The Olympic and world champ will design the novice cross country track, working alongside Captain Mark Phillips, who has designed Barbury’s courses since the event began in 2005.

Gloucestershire-based Blyth is in his third year as a course-designer and is already responsible for the novice, BE100 and BE90 tracks at both Burgham and Alnwick Ford in Northumberland.

And he’s looking forward to Barbury. “I am really excited to be involved with St James’ Place Barbury,” said Tait. “I think Mark Phillips is one of the best course-designers in the world and I’m looking forward to working with him and learning from him.

“Barbury is a very popular event and its novice track is one of the most significant at that level in the country. I think the art is in being able to design for a broad range of riders – the top professionals with young horses, and amateur riders for whom the novice at Barbury is a real target and achievement. I want to test, but also educate and encourage.”

His designing skill means Tait walks cross country courses in a different light now.

“I see things differently,” he says. “It is a real learning curve, taking my riding hat off and putting my course designer hat on. I haven’t been rushing my course designing career but have spent time learning from very good people. When I do stop riding, I hope it will be a way of staying involved with the sport internationally.”

Barbury event director Martyn Johnson is thrilled to have Tait on board. The event runs July 5-8 and plays host to one of the three British legs in the Event Rider Masters series.

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison