Great Britain’s para-dressage team has won silver at the World Equestrian Games – missing out on gold by just 0.64%.
It was the first time in the history of WEG that Britain didn’t take the para-dressage team title. This year it went to the Netherlands, with Germany in bronze position.
Sophie Wells scored a personal best of 77.233 in the Grade V team test to finish top of her class, while Lee Pearson followed with a strong score of 71.606 to put the team in fifth place overnight.
Natasha Baker was first in to the arena for the Grade III class with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog. Competing in just their third team test together, they produced a fabulous fluid performance to be rewarded with a personal best of 74.118.
‘Adore that horse’
“I don’t even know what to say, I’m still shaking; she was absolutely amazing,” said an emotional Natasha.
“I’m just so, so, proud of her. If that’s what we can do after seven months then in another year’s time, she’s just going to grow even more in confidence. I absolutely adore that horse.”
The final rider for Team GB was Erin Orford and Dior, who were competing at their first WEG. They improved on their individual test earlier in the week, to score of 69.029.
“I was so proud of her,” said Erin. “I had hoped we’d done enough, but unfortunately the scores weren’t on our side. She had a bit of stage fright on Wednesday, but today I was really pleased, I couldn’t have asked any more of her, we went in there and gave it everything.”
As well as winning silver, the team have sealed their place at the Tokyo Olympic Games in two years’ time.
“Our target was to return with a team medal, we’ve done that; and to qualify for Tokyo, and we’ve done that,” said para-dressage performance manager Sarah Armstrong. “All of the athletes have delivered great tests over the last two days, and I’m delighted for them.
The para-dressage competition draws to a close tomorrow (Sunday 23 September) with the Freestyle. Sophie Wells (Grade V), and Natasha Baker (Grade III), will both take to the arena as they compete for the second individual titles of the Games.
You can watch all the action from WEG on Horse & Country in our daily review show. We also have coverage of all the Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines.