Britain prepares for World Para Dressage Championships

  • The Paralympic team carrying British hopes at this weekend’s FEI World Para Dressage Championships at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire (18-22 July) will be:

    • Michelle Crunkhorn with No Limit (grade IV)
    • Anne Dunham with BB Call Me Caine (grade I)
    • Simon Laurens with Ocean Diamond (grade III)
    • Lee Pearson with Altino (grade Ib)

    Also riding for individual British honours will be Nicola Tustain, Debbie Criddle, Sophie Christiansen, Ricky Balshaw, Felicity Coulthard and Denise Shawns. Rory Williams, Lucy Barclay, Natasha Baker, Toby Pawson and Sophie Wells will take part in order to qualify for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Hong Kong but will not be eligible for individual medals.

    During the competition riders will be assessed on their performance against competitors within their own grade of disability. Hopes for British team success are high; the British team currently hold the European and World Para titles and will be competing to qualify for the 2008 Paralympics.

    Performances from Britain’s previous gold medalists Debbie Criddle and Lee Pearson — who will be competing Anne Murray’s British-bred elementary horse, Altino following the retirement of Blue Circle Boy — as well as those of gold medalists Irene Slaettengren (Sweden), and Ann Cathrin Lubbe (Norway) are expected to be among the highlights of the championship. There will also be two gala evenings featuring CDI grand prix and grand prix special classes.

    The 2007 championships, under FEI governance for the first time, are the largest yet with 142 competitors expected including three new teams from China, Singapore and the Virgin Islands. As hosts of the event, Hartpury College has invested more than £4.5 million to provide a world-class venue for the world championships including a new International Arena.

    The President of the FEI, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, will be attending the prize-giving ceremony at the championship. Princess Haya said: “Both the [Paralympic] discipline and the athletes richly deserve greater recognition and I feel sure that the championships will provide an excellent platform for further understanding of the discipline across the world.”

    For further information visit: www.hartpury.ac.uk/wpdc

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