The magic of the horse-human connection: Sophie Wells on why equestrian sport’s Paralympic place is so important

  • The power of equestrian sport’s inclusion in the Paralympic movement reaches far beyond the horse world, Britain’s Sophie Wells said in an emotional interview after scoring individual silver.

    Sophie, who wiped tears from her eyes as she left the arena following her silver medal-winning performance aboard Don Cara M, spoke of the positive impact horses have on people’s lives – and the power that being part of the Paralympics puts behind that message.

    “I think it’s so important for people to realise what equestrianism can give back and what the relationship with the horse is,” said Sophie, who scored 74.41% (74.405%) to scoop silver on Roland Kinch’s 12-year-old Don Jovi gelding.

    “In no other sport would an athlete go into a Paralympic Games and be reassuring their dancing partner so to speak. And I think the benefit of what horses can do for us… It would be a catastrophe if it were taken out.”

    Sophie added the power that the connection with horses brings is bigger than the Games, referring to para sport and Riding for the Disabled’s origins as physical therapy.

    She spoke passionately about the impact equestrian sport’s inclusion in the Paralympics has in introducing people to the physical and mental benefits of the horse/human partnership.

    “It is therapy – that’s how it started,” she said. “And that’s not just physical therapy – yes, it was initially physical therapy, but what the horses can give back in a mental health psychological perspective is huge.

    “The more people that can see that and could then go and benefit from it, the better.”

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