Carl Hester announces Olympic ride’s competition comeback

One of Britain’s most successful international dressage horses is set to make a long-awaited comeback next month, at the Keysoe CDI3* (15-17 March).

Carl Hester has revealed that he plans to compete his Olympic, World and European silver medallist Nip Tuck at the show, the first British international of 2019.

The 15-year-old Don Ruto x Animo gelding, known as Barney, has not competed since finishing in individual fourth place at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, but Carl has reported that he is on top form.

“He is feeling really good — hot as hell — and I’m really looking forward to competing him,” Carl told H&H.

“He hasn’t been out since Gothenburg as we gave him a holiday last year — his owner, Jane de la Mare, has been riding him and having fun with him.”

The tall bay gelding, who is famously spooky, has been with Carl since he was a yearling and the pair know each other inside out. They have been lynchpins of the British team in recent years, helping claim medals at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen, the 2015 European Championships in Aachen and the 2016 Rio Olympics. They also finished third at the World Cup final in Omaha in 2017, and have racked up an impressive total of 17 international victories.

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Carl says he aims to campaign Barney on the World Cup circuit next winter, but has not ruled him out of his plans for this year’s Europeans in Rotterdam, although his 2018 WEG partner Hawtins Delicato (Del) will remain his top ride.

“From a team point of view, Del is the stronger horse for this year, but Barney will be here and I can potentially aim him for the team as a back-up if I need him,” he explained. “But I really just want to have some fun on him this year, and aim him for the World Cup final in Las Vegas in 2020.”

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