The equestrian events at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games got underway yesterday (11 September), with Great Britain’s Lee Pearson finishing on top of the leaderboard in the Grade 1b division.
Riding the 11-year-old bay gelding Zion, Lee scored of 75.280%, putting them top of the standings. However, his score will not count towards the team competition, as Lee has been chosen as the individual.
His results from the first day will carry over towards the individual medals, which will be decided on Wednesday, and Lee was delighted with how the test went.
“That horse gave me everything he could possibly give me – I could have perhaps been a bit more accurate, for example we have to trot round the corner and do a transition to walk in the first corner, he’s a big horse he’s 17.2hh so we were possibly a bit late but I thought it was balanced and flowing. I feel like it was the best test he’s done.”
In second place was Austria’s Pepo Puch (74.000%) and third was Paralympic debutant Alina Rosenberg, from Germany.
In the Grade III, in which Great Britain doesn’t have a representative, Norway’s Ann Cathrin Lubbe leads on board Donatello, with the pair scoring 72.237%.
Lubbe had to perform her test while amid fireworks going off from a neighbouring town.
“I had a marvellous ride what with the noise and everything,” she said. “My trainer had told me to ignore everything and just ride, so I just rode. But he’s a very good horse too.”
There was some drama before the competition during Saturday’s trot-up, when Pepo Puch, Brazil’s Rodolfo Riskalla and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup all had their horses were held overnight
Italy’s Sara Morganti was not so fortunate, as her horse Royal Delight did not pass the first horse inspection.