Grade IV rider Kate Shoemaker consolidated the US team’s bid for a place on the podium at the Tokyo Paralympics dressage. They are currently in silver behind Team GB after three riders have gone for both countries. Kate rode the 14-year-old Solitaer 40 (Sandro Hit x De Niro) to score 71.9% at the start of the final rider rotation.
“That might be the best test he’s ever done,” said Kate. “I’m so, so happy. There were little bobbles here and there, but I was so happy with the overall way of going. But I am a little disappointed in the score.”
Kate had changed tack from her individual test earlier in the week.
“We had tried for a more elastic, forward-moving test the first night, but the judges said ‘no’, so I went for more collection, balance and correctness today, and I think we showed the potential we have,” she said. “It’s a tough spot going first in the class – we just have to sit and wait now because it’s going to be extremely tight.”
Paralympics dressage: Britain leads the way in the hunt for medals
Great Britain currently leads the team standings for those nations which have completed with all three riders on 229.905. Sophie Wells produced a quality test on Don Cara M at the end of the Grade V section to score 75.651% and consolidate Lee Pearson and Natasha Baker’s great efforts on the first day of the team competition (28 August).
The US is now in second, with Italy third on 214.057, but the Netherlands is lying in wait and expected to overtake during the final rider rotation. Their final rider Sanne Voets would need to produce a personal best with Demantur to take team gold, but it is well within the realms of possibility.
Denmark is also putting in a bold bid thanks to Tobias Jørgensen’s superb mark of 79.559%, but their final rider Susanne Jensby Sunesen will need to score a colossal personal best of 77.11% to put the country in contention for gold.
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