Three new faces in all-female Europeans squad

  • Three riders will make their senior championship debut in the European Para Dressage Championships next month.

    H&H blogger Suzanna Hext, Natasha Adkinson and Julie Payne are the three newcomers to the squad.

    They are joined by Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Wells on her multiple European medal-winning ride C Fatal Attraction as they head for glory at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden (21-27 August).

    Izzy Palmer and Susanna Wade have been selected as non-travelling reserves.

    “It’s always a special occasion to get your first call-up to represent your country at a major championships,” said British Dressage chief executive Jason Brautigam.

    “It’s a pleasure to welcome our three debutantes to the fold, as well as congratulate Sophie on her ninth straight championship team selection.

    “There is always plenty of competition for team places in the para squad, but this quartet and our reserves prove that hard work, dedication and commitment can reap the deserved rewards.

    Gothenburg provides our new faces with the ideal opportunity to obtain invaluable championship experience, while we build the pool of riders and horses available for selection for the World Equestrian Games next year and beyond, as we look ahead to Tokyo 2020.”

    The full squad and their horses are as follows:

    • Natasha Adkinson, Grade II, 24, based Lincolnshire, with Yvonne Bennett and her own Sweet Caledonia
    • Suzanna Hext, Grade III, 29, based Gloucestershire, with Charlie and Pammy Hutton’s Abira (pictured, top). In direct reserve, Susanna has Henrietta Cheetham and the Lady Joseph Trust’s LJT Enggaards Solitaire
    • Julie Payne, Grade I, 56, based Oxfordshire, with Di Redfern‘s Athene Lindebjerg
    • Sophie Wells MBE, Grade V, 27, based Nottinghamshire, with Charlotte Hogg and her own C Fatal Attraction. In direct reserve, Sophie has Valerius.

    Non-travelling reserves (in alphabetical order):

    • Izzy Palmer, Grade IV, age 16, based in West Yorkshire, with Nicola Wells and Sophie Wells’ Touchdown M
    • Susanna Wade, Grade I, age 50, based in Lincolnshire, with her own D’Artagnan

    “The all-female selected squad, along with the wider squad members, have all worked incredibly hard this year for a place on the team among a very competitive peer group,” said British para dressage performance manager Sarah Armstrong.

    “Our final preparation will now sharpen an already very focused team to deliver their best performances in Gothenburg this summer.”

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    She added she is “delighted” the National Lottery-funded programme has enabled them to “grow the strength and depth in so many combinations” across its podium and podium potential squads.

    “The 2017 selections will allow a number of new combinations to target personal bests on the world stage — I’m also thrilled for Sophie Wells, in that she again has the opportunity to campaign her home-produced horse at this year’s championships.”

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