‘Here’s to more medals’: Duchess celebrates Rio’s equestrian stars

  • Equestrian stars of Rio were honoured at a special event hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall on 24 January.

    Her Royal Highness received Olympic and Paralympic medallists, horse owners and members of the riders’ support teams at a reception at Clarence House.

    More than 70 guests attended the event, held to celebrate the highly successful 2016 Games in which the British teams won 14 medals, nine of them gold.

    The duchess congratulated all the athletes present and joked that it was a shame the horses could not have made it too.

    “I just wanted to congratulate all of you, the riders, owners, grooms and trainers, and of course the horses — I wish we could have got them here tonight,” she said.

    “Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for Tokyo, and I hope we’ll be seeing you all in four years’ time with a lot of medals around your necks. Congratulations again.”

    Maintaining their unbeaten team record in the summer, and recording one of the squad’s biggest medal hauls to date, Great Britain’s para dressage team was first to be presented to Her Royal Highness.

    “It’s a huge honour to be invited here,” said triple Paralympic gold medallist Natasha Baker after the reception.

    “[The Duchess of Cornwall] was so welcoming and asked lovely questions on how our horses were getting on and how Rio was.

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    “It’s so nice to catch up with the team, we haven’t seen each other for a while, and it’s even more special to be here tonight with all the other disciplines as well.

    “This evening feels like the end of the Rio chapter and the beginning of the Tokyo chapter.”

    Chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation, Clare Salmon, added: “Our very warm thanks to our very generous and incredibly knowledgeable patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who has welcomed us so splendidly to her home.

    “We are here tonight to recognise the momentous achievements of our Olympians and Paralympians in Rio, and everyone here has played a part in this.

    “It has been a fantastic journey, and we look forward to Tokyo.”

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