Paralympic multi-medallist Sophie Christiansen has made the decision to withdraw from World Equestrian Games (WEG) team selection with her nine-year-old gelding Amazing Romance (Harry).
Grade I rider Sophie and Harry were shortlisted for WEG, but yesterday (20 July) Sophie announced she wanted to give herself more time to develop her partnership with the Danish warmblood, who she has only had since last autumn.
“Harry and I need more time to develop our partnership so we both have the confidence to go into such a big, atmospheric competition. I know this is the right decision for Harry for the long term,” said Sophie.
“A statement that I hear time and time again from people, because of my track record, is ‘But of course you’ll go to [insert location of the next Paralympics here]!’ The fact of the matter is anything could happen in sport, especially equestrian sport, when you are working with another living being who can’t talk to you.”
The pair have had plenty of success in their first months together, with a high-scoring triple victory at the Deauville CPEDI3* in April, but they had a tricky time at the Hartpury CPEDI this month.
They topped the team test despite the fact Harry broke into trot in the walk-only test, but finished down the order in the individual after several moments of resistance, and the issues continued into their freestyle.
“Every test is a learning experience for both of us. It’s safe to say that Harry has given us some new things to focus on in training,” Sophie told H&H at the time.
Having taken a year out of competition after winning triple gold at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, Sophie returned to the sport with not just a new horse in Harry, but a whole new team, including trainer Rob Trowbridge.
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“I am so incredibly proud of my team for, in less than a year, helping me make the championship short-list again. It’s been a bumpy few months but together we’re moving forward stronger,” she said.
Sophie is now on the hunt for a second horse to compete next year, and to aim towards the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.
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