Farewell Nip Tuck

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 03 Oct 2023 16:33

British Dressage is saddened to hear of the recent passing of Jane de la Mare and Carl Hester’s Nip Tuck, the much-loved horse who partnered Carl to team silver medals at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, the 2015 European Championships and, most recently, Rio 2016. Nip Tuck, or Barney as he was known, was put to sleep on Monday 25 September at the age of 19 following a short illness.

Foaled in the Netherlands in 2004, KWPN gelding Nip Tuck (Don Ruto x Animo) was bought as a yearling by Carl’s long-time friend Jane de la Mare. Backed at four years of age due to his eventual 18hh frame, the sensitive young Barney was placed third with Carl in the Shearwater Young Horse 4YO Championships later that same year. He was subsequently competed during the early part of his career by Carl’s then stable rider, Katie Bailey, who took him through the levels to Prix St Georges before handing the reins back to Carl.

Barney did his first Grand Prix at a local indoor show in April 2014, scoring 76.60% and giving more than a glimpse of what was to come. The budding partnership competed at four further shows, including Windsor CDI3*, the WEG test event and Hartpury CDI3*, before being selected for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen, France, pictured above, which marked the beginning of an illustrious career together as a stalwart combination of the British team.

A team silver medal in Caen, where they were placed 12th in both the Special and Freestyle, was followed by team silver at the 2015 FEI Dressage European Championships in Aachen, pictured below, where they were fifth in the Special and eighth in the Freestyle. The duo, selected for Rio 2016, helped the British team to another team silver medal as well as taking ninth place in the Special and seventh in the Freestyle.

Carl and Barney’s final team appearance was at the 2017 FEI Dressage European Championships in Gothenburg where they claimed fifth place in the Special, and were just off the podium in the Freestyle with a phenomenal fourth place on 80.61%.

This popular combination, which achieved no fewer than 19 international victories, won the London leg of the 2016-2017 FEI Dressage World Cup™ series, scoring 84.66% in the Freestyle, and they were third to Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD at the 2017 World Cup™ Final in Omaha, USA (83.75%), pictured below.

The final international appearance for Carl and Nip Tuck was Windsor CDI in May 2019, where they won the Freestyle in the magnificent grounds of Windsor Castle. That same year, the duo claimed the LeMieux National Champion’s crown at Stoneleigh – the tenth National Champion title of Carl’s career – and won the invitational class at the Liverpool International Horse Show before Barney was retired from competition. Following time as a schoolmaster for Rob Barker, he later entered into full retirement at home with Jane.

“The kindest heart and a horse that made dreams come true. We will miss you always Barney,” said Carl in tribute to Nip Tuck.

“It’s been a week and I keep looking out the window onto the paddocks that surround my home but Barney isn’t there,” commented devoted owner Jane, pictured above with Carl, Nip Tuck and Robert Lemieux at the 2019 National Championships.

“On Monday 25 September, aged 19, our beloved Nip Tuck (Barney) was put to sleep after a short, sudden illness. Carl and I are heartbroken.

“At the moment, it’s hard to remember the good times and adventures the three of us had but, to be honest, silver medals, red rosettes and trophies can’t replace the faithful, trusting and loving friend Barney was – although he sometimes frightened the life out of me! He loved Carl and would do anything for him, even if it wasn’t easy or scary, which made us love him even more.

“I’m devastated but am comforted that on his last day I took him onto some green grass and with the sun shining he laid down and told me it was OK and that it was time for him to go. As ever, the perfect gentle giant, our unicorn who now has his wings.

“I will be forever grateful to Barney who taught me that if you are kind, willing to try and have a big heart then anything is possible.”

Jason Brautigam, BD CEO commented: “Nip Tuck has a special place in many members’ hearts, including my own for his achievements in the arena, most notably at the Rio Olympics, which was the pinnacle of a silver medal winning team treble at international level. Barney signed off his stellar career with a national title too, so he will always be remembered as one of the great champions of British Dressage. On behalf of everyone at BD, may I express our condolences to Jane, Carl and all of Barney’s connections.”