Britain’s 23-Year Reign Comes to an End at World Equestrian Games Competition
Great Britain has had their unbeaten para-dressage title, at the World Equestrian Games, stripped as they fell in the silver medal position in the team competition, with the Netherland’s riding to victory.
Until now, Britain has taken every championship title since the discipline became a Paralympic sport in 1996. The Dutch team managed to edge Britain from the top spot, taking the lead by just 0.6%. The team consisted of Nicole den Dulk riding Wallace NOP in the Grade II, Rixt van der Horst and Findsley in the Grade III, Sanne Voets and Demantur NOP for the Grade IV competition, and Frank Hosmar and Alphaville in the Grade V.
Joyce Heuitink, the Netherland’s national coach, gushed;
I am so incredibly proud of them all, and not just the riders, but the whole team. They all had their form at the right time. That is something special. It is so difficult to get that done, just at the right time.”
Team GBR riders, Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction and Natasha Baker riding Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, performed amazingly in their individual competitions, Wells taking on the Grade V division whilst Baker competed in the Grade III. Wells and Baker also managed personal bests achieving 77.23% and 74.12%, respectively.
Erin Orford, riding Dior for Great Britain, improved the team’s score with a respectable 69.03%. Lee Pearson also boosted the final score of the team, managing an impressive 71.6% after disappointment in the individual championship, forcing him to retire his 9-year-old mare, Styletta.
Britain’s para-dressage team continue their medal quest today (Saturday 22nd September), Wells and Baker competing in the grade V and III freestyle championships.