Germany’s eventing coach swaps sides to join Team GB in new role

  • Chris Bartle has been appointed to the new role of performance coach as part of the British World Class eventing programme.

    Yogi Breisner is leaving his position as British eventing performance manager after 17 years at the helm and the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) invited applications to replace him earlier in the year. It came out at the end of September that Chris, who is currently trainer to the German eventing team, was among those who had applied for the position. He will start his new role from January 2017.

    The BEF said that Chris’s appointment “introduces a new coaching programme to the eventing squad which will see Christopher as performance coach who will be a key component of a wider plan to continue to optimise performance for the upcoming Olympic cycle”.

    British Eventing chief executive David Holmes said: “We are incredibly lucky to have found such a strong and inspirational performance coach to take the British eventing squad forward.

    “As you can appreciate the process of making senior appointments involves detailed and confidential discussions and is why we have been unable to make any announcement until this time, but are delighted to announce this news today and look forward to working with Christopher as we head towards Tokyo 2020.”

    BEF chief executive Clare Salmon said: “On behalf of the BEF as well as British Eventing, I am delighted to be able to share this news; Chris has a great wealth of knowledge and experience across all Olympic equestrian disciplines as a rider as well as achieving incredible results throughout his years with the German senior eventing team.

    “We look forward to welcoming him back to his homeland and to the UK Sport Lottery-funded World Class performance team in the New Year.”

    The Deutsche Reiterliche Vereinigung (German equestrian federation) announced online earlier today that Chris would be taking up a position within the British structure and Hans Melzer, who has worked alongside Chris with the German team, would continue to hold the reins for that nation.

    More about Chris Bartle

    Chris was an extremely successful rider before moving on to training. He won Badminton in 1998 riding World Perfect, was a European team gold medallist in 1997 at Burghley on the same horse and reserve for the 2000 Olympic team.

    He also rode at the top level in pure dressage and finished sixth in the dressage at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles riding Wily Trout. In addition he was national dressage champion twice and finished fourth in the 1985 dressage European Championships.

    Chris has been national coach to the German eventing team, working alongside team manager Hans Melzer, since 2001. During the latter years of his tenure the Germans have dominated the international eventing scene, winning team gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, world team gold in 2014 and European team gold in 2011, 2013 and 2015. German riders have also won individual gold at the annual championship every year since 2010.

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    Chris has previously acted as dressage trainer to the British eventing team, including at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 and he was chef d’equipe and coach to the British eventing team at the 1999 European Championships.

    The 64-year-old is managing director of the Yorkshire Riding Centre, a powerhouse training centre where numerous successful riders have spent time. His pupils include British Olympic team silver medallist Nicola Wilson.

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