Paralympic team gold medal-winning paradressage rider Simon Laurens has retired from competition due to financial pressures.

“This has been a very difficult decision and I have thought very carefully for a number of months before making this announcement,” he said

“I have been looking very hard for a successor to my current ride, Ocean Diamond (Derek), for the last 12 months and have tried some lovely horses, but have not found a horse that I believe I can win a medal with in London 2012.

“It has become increasingly difficult for me to carry on competing in the current global climate and I have therefore made the very difficult decision to hang up my boots.”

Simon added that he intends to remain involved in the sport and promote para-equestrian dressage as well as continuing with judging and training.

British Equestrian Federation (BEF) world class performance director, Will Connell said: “This is very sad for the sport. Not only has Simon proven himself an outstanding athlete, winning medals for Team GBR at Paralympic Games, European and World level, he is also a fantastic team member.

“He gives freely of his time to help promote his sport and encourages others to try riding. He always has a smile on his face and a ready quip that helps maintain a very positive and enjoyable team atmosphere.”

David Hunter, the BEF’s performance manager for para-equestrian dressage added: “Sad though it is, I fully support and respect Simon’s decision. I know it has been a difficult one to make as he has shared and discussed his thoughts with me throughout the process.

He will be missed by all of his fellow GB riders and world class staff and by the huge number of the friends and acquaintances he has made on the international stage.”