Britain wins Paralympic team dressage gold at London 2012

Sophie-Christiansen.jpg

The British Paralympic dressage squad retained its unbeaten team status in Paralympic competition by winning team gold at the London Games today, ahead of Germany with Ireland in bronze.

Silver medal-winning performances for Sophie Wells and Deb Criddle put Britain into an unassailable lead, even before Sophie Christiansen (pictured) won gold in the grade Ia class.

Sophie Wells had to settle for individual silver in the grade IV after an uncharacteristic mistake by Pinocchio, when he trotted in a simple change, to score 76.323%. This allowed Belgium’s Michele George riding Rainman to claim the gold on a score of 77.065%. Frank Hosmar and Alphaville of the Netherlands took bronze.

“It was a real team effort,” said Sophie. “The rest of the world are so strong we have had to pull everything out for this.”

Riding in her fourth Paralympic Games, Deb Criddle was unable to topple defending Paralympic champion Hannelore Brenner, who scored 73.467% with Women of the World for Germany, despite an error of course. Deb’s score of 71.267% secured the gold medal for Team GBR before our final team member, Sophie Christiansen, had entered the arena. The bronze went to Denmark’s Annika Dalskov.

“It was nip and tuck in all classes,” said Deb.

First to go in the grade Ia, Sophie and Janeiro set an unbeatable score of 82.750%. Ireland’s Helen Kearney riding Mister Cool came closest to Sophie, some six percent behind on 76.7%, while Singapore’s Laurentia Tan and Ruben James took bronze.

Britain’s equestrian Paralympic medal haul at the London Games now stands at three gold and three silver ahead of the individual freestyle competitions, which get underway tomorrow.

Read H&H’s full report on all the action to date at the equestrian events of the London Paralympic Games in this week’s magazine, on sale Thursday 6 September

Results

Team:

1, Great Britain 468.817
2, Germany 440.970
3, Ireland 428.313

Grade 1a:

1, Sophie Christiansen (Janeiro 6) GBR 82.75%
2, Helen Kearney (Mister Cool) IRL 76.7%
3, Laurentia Tan (Ruben James 2) SIN 73.65%

Grade III:

1, Hannelore Brenner (Women Of The World) GER 75.741%
2, Deb Criddle (LJT Akilles) GBR 72.926%
3, Annika Dalskov (Aros A Fenris) 72.889%

Grade IV:

1, Michele George (Rainman) BEL 77.065%
2, Sophie Wells (Pinocchio) GBR 76.323%
3, Frank Hosmar (Alphaville) NED 73.097%

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk