Tales from Gothenburg: ‘Para dressage is becoming a family tradition’

  • If you thought Tobias Thorning Joergensen’s name sounded familiar, you’d be right. The 17-year-old Dane’s mother Line is a multi-medalled para dressage rider herself, having won individual European silver and bronze medals, and finished just outside the medals fourth  at the London Paralympics in 2012, all on Di Caprio.

    Her son is now following in her footsteps and collecting medals himself, claiming bronze at his first championship in the grade III freestyle at the European Dressage Championships with the Blue Hors Hertag daughter Bruunholms Caribian.

    Whereas Line was involved in riding accident that left her partially paralysed, Tobias developed myopathy aged 13, leaving him with severe muscular weakness and fatigue.

    “I have always been involved in the para community from watching my mum riding, but before my illness I did showjumping — and I hated dressage,” says Tobias. “However, when we realised how difficult it would be for me to continue jumping with my illness, I swapped to para dressage. It was very hard to make the change, but I learnt to love dressage.

    I was in London supporting my mum at the 2012 Paralympics, which was before I started doing dressage myself. We knew then it might be the case for me one day, but didn’t think that time would come as soon as it did.

    “My mum has always been such a great support – I definitely would not be here now if it wasn’t for her. Para dressage is becoming a family tradition!”

    Continued below…

    More from the Europeans…

    One of the youngest riders at the European Championships in Sweden, Tobias, who rides in a neck brace due to the ‘S’ shape of his spine, scored an impressive 76.12% to finish third in a very hot grade III freestyle championship. Two of the five judges had him in the lead, and the Dutch judge at M, Jeannette Wolfs, awarded him an artistic score of 82%.

    Tobias has been riding Signe and Thomas Kirk Kristiansen’s 14-year-old since 2014, and describes her as a typical mare.

    “She has a big personality: if she likes you, you know about it, and if she doesn’t like you, you really know about it,” he laughs.

    Don’t miss the 31 August issue of Horse & Hound, with full reports, analysis and expert commentary from the dressage, para dressage and showjumping European Championships in Gothenburg.

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