Reinstating the gallops on the Barbury Castle Estate
By Peter Driver
Situated in rolling downs on the edge of Marlborough in Wiltshire, the Barbury Castle Estate is a 4,500 acre equestrian centre featuring a Point to Point racecourse, extensive racehorse training facilities, training gallops including the famous Barbury Mile and, currently under construction, a cross country and eventing course that is set to rival Burghley.
There are 11 miles of gallops, some of which are over 120 years old and they follow the contours of the surrounding hillsides, providing every conceivable gradient for training and conditioning racehorses.
Alan King is the resident trainer and with over 90 horses in his stables, the gallops take a lot of punishment over the course of a season. The man responsible for the facilities at Barbury Castle is Chris Musgrave, the Estate Manager, who is entrusted with a turf management operation on a huge scale.
"We are renowned for the quality of our facilities here and it is really important that we keep our turf in the very best possible condition," he said. "The gallops can really suffer and that's why I've purchased the new Terra Spike, to ensure that they are returned to prime condition as quickly as possible. The XF is much quicker over the ground than other machines, so it is much more productive. With 11 miles of gallops, it needs to be. After the horses have been over the ground, we hand fork the more severe areas, then use a roller to flatten the surface. Then we follow this with the XF aerator which helps relieve the compaction and improves drainage. It also allows air into the rootzone promoting healthy growth."
TH White, Wiedenmann UK's local dealer, facilitated the sale of the Terra Spike to the estate.