Nip Tuck, Carl Hester's Rio Olympic ride and multiple team horse, has passed away on 25 September 2023, aged 19. He was spending his retirement with his owner, Jane de la Mare.
Nip Tuck was a KWPN gelding by Don Ruto out of Irena (by Animo x L'Espoir). He was bred by Jan van Breemen in The Netherlands and originally named Zandero.
Sold to Great Britain
Nip Tuck sold to Jane de la Mare in Great Britain as a yearling and was renamed Nip Tuck after the American medical drama television series. His stable name was "Barney".
Described as a "spooky, unco-ordinated" youngster, Nip Tuck was trained by Carl Hester to Grand Prix.
The dark bay gelding did his first national shows as a 4-year old in 2008, finishing third at the British Young Horse Championships. Between 2011 and 2013 Carl's assistent Katie Bailey competed him in the U.K. up to Prix St Georges level
Stalwart of the British Team
As of 2014 Carl Hester was on board and he produced the horse into becoming a stalwart of the British team between 2014 and 2017.
The pair did its first national Grand Prix in February 2014 and first CDI Grand Prix in Saumur in May 2014. They won team silver at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen and placed 12th in the freestyle. In 2015 there was team silver at the European Championships in Aachen and a 8th place in the Kur.
They represented Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where there was teal silver and a 7th place in the Kur Finals.
In 2017 they were third at the World Cup Finals in Omaha and at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, Britain was off the podium but individually he finished fourth in the Kur.
Swan Song in 2019
A long break from competition sport followed. In 2018 Nip Tuck spent time at his owner's yard to recover and relax.
In 2019 Nip Tuck returned to the arena with the CDI Keysoe being comeback show, followed two months later by the CDI Windsor. Carl named Nip Tuck a back-up for Hawtins Delicato with whom he rode the 2018 WEG in Tryon.
The CDI Windsor was Nip Tuck's last international. He competed at two further shows: one national Grand Prix class in Hartpury in July and the 2019 British Grand Prix Championships at Somerford, which they won. At the end of the year he rode his "pretty clever old thing" in a final exhibition event in Liverpool.
Nip Tuck was never officially retired from sport with a ceremony. He briefly served as a schoolmaster at home for Rob Barker before his full retirement to the field.
On 25 September Jane de la Mare had to put Nip Tup to sleep after a short, sudden illness.
"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," a heart-broken Jane de la Mare stated. "He loved Carl and would do anything for him even if it wasn’t easy or scary which made us love him even more."
She continued, "I am 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."
Photos © Astrid Appels
Eurodressage Photo Database: Nip Tuck
Carl Hester and Nip Tuck Win Invitational Freestyle at 2019 Liverpool International Horse Show
Carl Hester is the 2019 British Grand Prix Champion
Nip Tuck Makes Winning Return to Competition at 2019 CDI Keysoe
Carl Hester Puts Nip Tuck Back in Action, Come Back at 2019 CDI Keysoe
Hester Keeps Option Open He'll Take Nip Tuck Back into the Show Ring
Werth and Weihegold Are Number One at 2017 World Cup Finals
Hester and Nip Tuck Dominate 2016 CDI-W London Grand Prix
British Team Selected for 2016 Olympic Games
Hester and Nip Tuck Sweep 3* Grand Prix at 2016 CDIO Compiegne
Holland Takes the Spoils in Scandalous Team Battle at 2015 European Dressage Championships
Carl Hester and Nip Tuck win Small 2015 CDI Windsor Grand Prix Class