British paradressage team lead after day one

  • Britain’s paradressage team riders all put in strong performances in today’s team tests to give them a solid chance of yet another gold medal. They lead with 214.641 overnight with the Netherlands second on 211.923 and Germany third with 209.889. Team GB is as yet unbeaten in championship para competition.

    Lee Pearson, Anne Dunham, Sophie Christiansen and Jo Pitt were selected for the team yesterday. Their scores in today’s team tests will be added to their performances in the individual tests, which take place over the next two days, and then the team medals and first set of individual medals will be decided.

    Lee, a nine-times Paralympic medallist and grade Ib rider, was best of the Brits riding Gentleman, scoring 73.818%. There are five grades of paradressage with Ia being for those riders with greatest disability and grade IV the least disabled.

    Lee said: “Some of our team were disappointed with their marks today so I knew I needed a good score to keep us in with a chance of gold. I rode a safe test to get a safe, decent mark. Now as the competition goes on I’ll put a little more power in a hopefully be able to increase my scores.”

    Jo Pitt was first to go for Britain riding Estralita in grade II. She said: “I was really pleased with my test apart from the one blip. The cameras started clicking and distracted my horse [causing Estralita to spook].”

    Seasoned campaigner Anne Dunham, who started in international competition in 1996, had a fault-free round on Teddy Edwards in the grade Ia for 71.296%.

    “He was really listening to me and very supple, and he seemed to enjoy it in there,” said Anne, who is back in competition following a heart operation last year.

    Teammate Sophie contested the same grade and finished just behind Anne riding Rivaldo Of Berkeley. Sophie said: “I didn’t know how he’d cope in the arena with all the cameras and lots of people, but he was very good. I just had a little mistake [the horse jogged from walk] and think I will not ride in these spurs for the rest of the competition.”

    Three additional British riders – Sophie Wells, Ricky Balshaw and Emma Sheardown – will join their teammates in competing over the next two days for individual medals.

    For full report, pictures and results, don’t miss H&H 14 October issue

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