Get up to speed on the super-coach and eventing philosopher Christopher Bartle, who put British eventing back in the spotlight on Sunday (20 August 2017) at the European Eventing Championships
Much of the credit for Germany’s meteoric rise as the dominant force in eventing in recent years was given to team trainer Christopher Bartle. But since swapping sides to Team GB in January this year, he seems to have worked his magic on his home nation already, watching the British eventing team clinch the team gold in Strzegom, Poland on Sunday (20 August 2017) at the European Eventing Championships.
“I can’t put it into words how impressed I am — I just couldn’t be more proud,” he said. “They all rode exactly as they trained and what they’re capable of. We now want more golds, for as long as we can.”
Here are nine facts you need to know about Christopher, who has competed internationally in both dressage and eventing:
1. Christopher runs the Yorkshire Riding Centre with his sister Jayne Bartle-Wilson.
2. He was educated at Ampleforth College and read economics at Bristol University.
3. While at university he rode hunters and point-to-pointers, and was an amateur on the National Hunt circuit for a couple of years.
4. Christopher spent nine months learning French and training with Commandant de Parisot, chief trainer at Saumur before moving to Chantilly. “He was inspirational in the way he sat on a horse and rode, and that set me off on a path whereby dressage was not just a necessary evil in order to event,” says Christopher.
5. That interest was developed further when Christopher and his sister Jayne were trained by Baron Hans von Blixen-Finecke, gold medallist in eventing at the 1952 Olympics — and owner of the horse that won gold in the dressage, ridden by Henri St-Cyr, as at that time it was not permitted to do both.
6. Christopher and Wily Trout finished sixth individually in the dressage at the 1984 Olympics — the highest placing of a British rider until Charlotte Dujardin in 2012 — and finished second in the World Cup Final in 1986.
7. In 1994, Word Perfect II came along. They were part of the British eventing team that won gold at the 1997 Europeans, despite Christopher falling off across country.
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8. The following spring (1998), Christopher and Word Perfect II won Badminton.
9. In 2000, Christopher and Word Perfect II were reserves for the Olympic team.
Don’t miss our full report from the European Eventing Championships in the 24 August 2017 issue of Horse & Hound magazine