Nip Tuck, or Barney as he’s known to his friends was the mount of Carl Hester at the 2016 Rio Olympics where they took Team Silver. Barney was born in 2004 (Don Ruto x Animo) and is unmissable at 18hh! I was very kindly invited by Barney’s owner, Jane De La Mare to meet Barney just up the road from Carl’s yard. After the Olympics, Barney had a long break and returned to competition just a few weeks ago at Royal Windsor.
Barney was often known as the “big spooky one” and I remember the first time I got to see Barney, he was spooking at the various guinea fowl and other birds that had just flocked in to Carl’s arena. Jane said he’s been ridden at Carl’s for most of his life, yet still finds one corner of the arena scary!
Jane and Carl have been friends for a long time and met at Dr Becholsteimers yard. Jane had always said she wanted to own a horse with Carl, and in 2004/5, their little yearling joined the herd with Carl’s other youngsters. Barney was then broken in at the yard where I met him for his shoot, a stones throw from Carl’s yard. What a journey it would be from there – as a young horse he was competed by Katie Bailey, with Carl riding him at home. Jane got to hack Barney out, and still does today. She said, embarrassingly that Barney still sometimes has to be given a lead off one of the 4/5 year olds if there’s something scary along the road! These days Barney hacks 40 minutes up the road to Carl’s yard and is then schooled, then Jane hacks him back home, it’s the perfect way to keep him nice and fit!
He’d always been a quirky horse to train, but Carl believed that he would be a Grand Prix horse and that came in April 2014. That following year he was part of the Silver medal winning team at WEG. Undoubtedly the highlight of Barney’s career was at the 2016 Rio Olympics. There were high expectations for the team after their Golden glory at London 2012. Carl and Nip Tuck were the third British combination in to the arena - I remember Carl’s post on Facebook (not long after the Pokemon Go App came out!) saying: “Frustratingly, a Pokemon at P” after Barney had us all on the edge of our seat as he spooked during the test but came away with 75.529% to leave Britain just outside the medals. Valegro and Charlotte were last to go in for the team, the combined score of the British team put them in to Silver medal place! In the Freestyle we were treated to a Carnival inspired soundtrack by Tom Hunt – Barney then danced his way to 7th place with 82.553%.
After Rio, Carl and Barney headed to Amsterdam, Omaha and later that summer the European Championships in Gothenburg where they posted a 74%+ score, the highest on the British Team, narrowly missing out on a team medal. Dancing to their Rio music, the partnership finished 4th individually on 80.614%.
Barney had a break from competing after the 2017 season, but came back this year to win both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle at Keysoe, and then a second place in the Grand Prix at Royal Windsor.
Thank you Jane for letting me visit Barney!
2014 World Equestrian Games - Team Silver Medal, Individual 12th Place Grand Prix, Individual 12th Place Freestyle
2015 European Championships - Team Silver Medal, Individual 5th Place Grand Prix, Individual 8th Place Freestyle
2016 Rio Olympic Games - Team Silver Medal, Individual 7th Place
2017 FEI World Cup Final - Bronze Medal
2017 European Championships - Individual 4th Place