Great Britain’s Natasha Baker led the way in the Grade II team test in Rio yesterday (13 September), further cementing Britain’s chances of claiming team gold.
But it was a tight competition, not helped when her horse Cabral spooked before entering the arena. But Natasha kept a cool head and proceeded to ride a lovely test with the 15-year-old gelding.
“I had to work hard, really hard,” said Natasha, who won double Paralympic gold at London 2012. “He walked around okay and then he noticed the audience was here and he got a bit nervous and I had to really work with him. But I’m so proud of him. He came back to me so quickly.
But their score of 71.882% was good enough for the win – even if less than 0.6pen ahead of The Netherland’s Demi Vermeulen in second.
“I never expected to get 71 per cent and I don’t really care what I got, I’m just so proud that we recovered. He coped with it all in London but he’s turned into a diva since then – it’s all gone to his head,” said Baker.
All four British team riders, and individual Lee Pearson, will be completing their individual tests today and tomorrow, and the team medals will be decided after Thursday’s tests are complete.
The first medals of the Rio 2016 dressage competition have been handed out, with Norway’s Ann Cathrin Lübbe claiming gold in the Grade III individual test.
Riding Donatello, Ann Cathrin scored 72.878%, just over 0.7% ahead of Denmark’s Susanne Sunesen on Que Faire. Paralympic debutant Louise Etzner Jakobsson took the bronze on Zernard for Sweden, making it a clean sweep for the Scandinavian nations.
Full results are available here.