YORKSHIRE coach Chris Bartle is adamant there is no room for complacency among his golden German team as a breathtaking 2012 nears its conclusion.
Harrogate-born Bartle guided the German eventing team which he coaches to an Olympic gold medal this summer – ironically at the expense of Team GB, who had to settle for silver.
However, while Mary King, Zara Phillips, Kristina Cook, William Fox-Pitt and Northallerton’s Nicola Wilson were edged out in the home Olympics, Bartle is already predicting a strong GB response in the build-up to Rio 2016.
Bartle, 60, still hopes to be coaching the German eventing team in South America – with whom he has had an association since 2001 – but the Yorkshireman is expecting one major battle to keep his Germans in pole position.
“Nobody stands still in this sport and everyone is going to try to improve,” Bartle told the Yorkshire Post.
“People will be trying to improve the horses and improve the training and produce the results.
“I’m absolutely certain that it will be a very close call again in four years’ time.
“The Brits are a very strong team – they are thought of around the world as the nation to beat when it comes to eventing and that was somewhat a motivation for me to do as well I did with my team.
“Just because we have had success this time around doesn’t guarantee anything for the future so we’ve got to work just as hard, if not harder, and I’m sure the Brits will be doing the same.”
Bartle’s 2012 is winding down with the recent four-star eventing competition in Pau seen as the last major contest of the season.
However, there is plenty on the horizon for Bartle and his German team, not least signing a deal to continue coaching them which the Yorkshireman is highly hopeful of doing.
In the meanwhile, there will be plenty of time spent at his Markington home and the Yorkshire Riding Centre which the Harrogatonian runs alongside his sister, Jane.
He may have jumped ship to coach the Germans but the White Rose ace believes his base in England – and particularly in rural Yorkshire – is second to none.
“Yorkshire is a fantastic county and North Yorkshire in particular,” he said. “We are in Markington, just on the edge of the Dales but close to Harrogate, and it’s certainly one aspect that all my riders who come and train with me here at the Yorkshire Riding Centre comment on.
“They have been all around the world and all over Germany, of course, but they always comment on what a fabulous part of the country we live in and what the positives are.
“It may be a bit further away from the big cities but training in such a lovely environment lends itself perfectly to training the horses.
“And we enjoy it from our point of view as well.”
Looking ahead to what is in store for the rest of 2012 and beyond, Bartle added: “After Pau the season winds down and there is a little bit of a catch up process.
“I’ve also got to sign on the dotted line with the Germans which I fully expect to do and I think that will happen.
“Then the next big thing as far as we are concerned are the European Championships next year which are taking place in Sweden.
“Then, going forwards, there are the worlds in France in two years’ time and, of course, Rio in 2016 is the big one again and it will be quite interesting to see what happens in South America.”
By then, Bartle will be 64 but the Yorkshireman clearly retains all of his equine enthusiasm and under no circumstances is retirement being discussed.
And why would it with the lure of the beaches of Rio on the agenda in four years?
In Wednesday’s equestrian article previewing Ilkley & District Riding Association’s presentation evening, we mistakenly named club supporter Brian Aston’s late daughter as Stephanie.
Mr Aston’s late daughter was called Jenny and the Yorkshire Post sincerely apologises for any distress caused to the Aston family and their friends.
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Weather for Yorkshire
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
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Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
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