Brothers saddle up for first International Horse Trials

Jonti, left, and Toby Bartlett.   (Lin) EMN-140330-205913001
Jonti, left, and Toby Bartlett. (Lin) EMN-140330-205913001

Two Caistor teenagers are polishing their boots to compete alongside top international riders at this year’s Belton Horse Trial.

And what’s more, Jonti Bartlett (15) and his older brother Toby (17) will be the only siblings competing in the U18 section of the competition.

Members of the Brocklesby Pony Club, the brothers have represented their club several times at the national championships.

They have also been part of the Caistor Grammar School show jumping team on many occasions at Hickstead.

And saddling up for their first Belton, the teenagers have a right to feel optimistic, as they both finished in the top ten at Oasby earlier this year.

“It’s the first time I have ridden at Belton and I am really looking forward to it,” said Toby, and Jonti agreed.

At Belton, they will be riding alongside top international competitors from up to 18 countries, including many former Olympic medal winners as well as the 2013 top-ranking event riders.

But no doubt, some of their talent is in their genes, as Mum Kathryn, who formerly rode to international level herself, has qualified for the Grassroots Championship at Badminton next month riding at BE90.

“Jonti will be my official groom which will be great fun for both of us,” said Katherine, who is usually doing the grooming for her two boys.

“They do work hard but they do the more manual jobs and I take care of the plaiting and bathing of the horses,” she said.

Belton International Horse Trials take place this weekend - April 4 to April 6 - At Belton House in Grantham.

And among the other young riders competing against some of the world’s best is Gina Ruck, of Tealby.

She will be riding Rehy Too, with which Gina also hopes to compete at Burghley for the first time later this year.

Gina is, however, no stranger to international competition having represented Britain from 14 years-old, first in the Pony teams and then in the Young Rider competitions.

And in 2007, Gina she was the youngest member of the Gold medal winning GB Pony team.

Apart from the packed equestrian programme, the event includes a wide range of activities from a classic car display to a dog show and from long distance running to style and fashion advisory sessions.

And thanks to a new partnership with the National Trust, trial tickets this year include admission to the mansion, gardens and adventure playground, as well as Trust activities during the weekend.

For full details and advance tickets log on to