The 19-times gold medallist Anne Dunham, 68, said it was a “hard decision” to retire from the sport but that she knows it is the right one.
Anne announced today (10 March) that her 23-year career, in which she won 32 championship medals, had come to an end.
Anne first represented Britain at the 1994 para-dressage World Championships, and won her last medals – team gold and two individual silvers – at the Rio Games last September.
“This has been a hard decision, but I know it is right because I don’t want to start with a new horse and then have to part with him,” she said.
“Tokyo is three years away; I’ll be in my 70s then and it’s time to give others a chance. I’ve loved it all, it’s been exciting, I’ve met some wonderful people and have travelled the world.
“I’ve done things I would never imagined I would have done. Horses and dressage has given me a varied and happy life.”
Anne, who has been a member of the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class programme since its creation, thanked Pammy Hutton for her support and friendship on “this rollercoaster of a ride”.
She added: “My daughter Amber, who has groomed for me since 2000, travelled the world with me and given up her time to support me – I wouldn’t have had the success I have achieved if we hadn’t been on this journey together.
“And for the last few years, my sister Gill, who has travelled with us and has helped generally keeping me in order.
“World Class and the lottery have made it all possible for me, as they have for so many other athletes, and have helped to take us to the height we are at now. Thank you to all the lottery players who have made this all possible.”
Para-dressage performance manager Sarah Armstrong said she is “privileged” to have worked with Anne, and “truly delighted” to be able to support her success.
“For Anne to close her career on such a high note must be an immensely proud moment for her, her family and her home coach,” Sarah added. “A dry sense of humour and immense wit coupled with her depth of knowledge in all things equestrian will be sorely missed by the whole World Class programme podium squad. We wish her well in her next adventure.”
British Dressage chief executive Jason Brautigam described Anne’s contribution to the sport as “immense”.
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“From Atlanta to Rio, Anne has played an enormous part in ensuring that Great Britain has remained undefeated in the team competition, as well as her fantastic individual medal success,” he added.
“She will be sorely missed by everyone involved in Team GBR and, along with her legions of fans and supporters, we wish her the very best for a long and happy retirement.”