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Carl and Nip Tuck are BD’s International Champions

Under Olympia’s bright lights Chairman Penny Pollard and CEO Jason Brautigam presented the BD International Champions trophy to Carl Hester and Jane de la Mare in honour of Carl and Nip Tuck’s magnificent performance at this year’s FEI Longines European Championships.

Carl Hester received his prize (Photo © Peter Nixon).

In only its second appearance, the trophy is awarded to the highest placed British combination at each year’s FEI Championship. Our inaugural recipients were Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro fittingly in their retirement year.

Carl and ‘Barney’ were at their majestic best in Sweden and were the best anchor-men a country could hope for in difficult circumstances. The first Championship without our star performers, last minute change of horse for team mate Emile Faurie and then the loss of Gareth Hughes when lameness struck at the trot up for his ride, the Keen’s Don Carissimo. It’s times like that when Carl’s calm, measured temperament comes to the fore. Plus, his ride has matured into a dependable team horse and exceeded all expectations held for him by Carl and dedicated co-owner, Jane.

An assured performance for 74.9% in the Grand Prix put Britain within close reach of a bronze medal – just 1.87% away from the host nation. But it was a performance by Emile, Spencer and Carl that we could all be proud of.

On to the Grand Prix Special and again Barney, the horse Carl has dubbed his ugly duckling who has become a swan, proved he could mix with Europe’s best to score 76.72% for fifth, crucial for a good draw in the Freestyle. They were fourth last to go and with their now trademark technically challenging floorplan scored 80.61% which in a few Championships would have been worthy of a medal but they had to settle for fourth – no small feat in the quality of the company.

Carl has been instrumental in putting Britain at the top of the dressage tree and although three amazing performances in Sweden didn’t result in a medal for him, Jane and Barney, the bespoke Union Flag trophy should remind him for the next 12 months of a job well done.