Paralympics: Gold for Natasha Baker and a shock bronze for Lee Pearson

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Natasha Baker (pictured) rode her third personal best of the Games to batter her opposition by a clear 5% in the grade II freestyle to music individual championship on Cabral while Lee Pearson had to settle for bronze in the grade Ib freestyle.

Natasha screamed and burst in to tears as the final competitor’s result – yet another that couldn’t get near her – was announced and her second gold of these Games was a reality.

“Watching Lee at the Sydney Games was a massive inspiration for me,” she said. “Seeing the relationship that he had with his horse and then going out and getting the golds was great.”

Natasha dedicated her performance to the late Ken Barnsely, who originally composed the music for her three years ago but died in April last year.

The world is not enough
In the afternoon’s grade Ib freestyle, Lee Pearson’s James Bond themed performance took him to the top of the leaderboard with just two riders left to go in the class.

But both Austrian Pepo Puch and blind Finn Katja Karjalainen bettered his score, leaving Lee with the first bronze of his long Paralympic career.

Lee explained that Gentleman is not used to such an intensive schedule of competition and had “struggled physically” this week.

“I was over the moon with the test,” he added. “Neither me nor Gentleman could have done any more.”

Pepo Puch, who competed in able-bodied eventing at the Olympics eight years ago before an accident in which he broke his neck in 2008, was thrilled with his gold medal. He dedicated it to his mother-in-law, who died on Friday.

For a full report see Horse & Hound magazine