Para dressage squad announced for European Championships

  • The para-equestrian dressage squad for the European Championships has been announced.

    The five-strong squad will travel to Deauville, France, to compete at the championships that run from 17-20 September.

    The selected squad was named today as:

    • Grade II, Natasha Baker MBE, 25, on Christian Landolt and Mr and Mrs Baker’s Sookie St James
    • Grade Ia, Sophie Christiansen OBE, 27, on Diane Redfern’s Athene Lindebjerg (direct reserve horse: her own Janiero 6)
    • Grade Ia, Anne Dunham MBE, 66, on the Lady Joseph Trust’s LJT Lucas Normark
    • Grade Ib, Lee Pearson CBE, 41, on Mr and Mrs D Pearson’s, Gillian Chinn’s and his own Zion
    • Grade IV, Sophie Wells MBE, 25, on her own Valerius (direct reserve horse: Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction)

    The non-travelling reserves have been named as grade III Heather Bennett, 47, with her own Zavailantika and grade III Nicky Greenhill, 37, with Mr and Mrs Greenhill’s Gregorian Chant.

    Team Chef d’Equipe David Hunter said: “It’s as strong a squad as ever and it’s great to see some new horses coming through to make their senior team debuts, whilst it’s exciting to have new combinations stepping up to the mark in our two reserves.

    “Congratulations to those athletes selected and good luck, and commiserations for those not selected on this occasion.”

    All riders compete as individuals at the championships and a team of four riders will be announced ahead of the competition to take part in the team event.

    Great Britain’s para-equestrian dressage team are the current and undefeated European, World and Paralympic champions.

    Lee, who is the reigning world champion in his grade, said he was “absolutely over the moon” to be selected.

    “I’m really nervously excited, being the current world champion in our grade with such competition coming from European countries I think it will feel a bit like a worlds again,” he said.

    To get selected is such an honour, there is such a great quality of rider/horse power in this country now which is great to see.”

    Anne was on the very first European para team that competed in Portugal in 2002 and has been on the European team ever since.

    “Being selected just gets more special, I’m 66 and still doing it, still improving and loving it,” she said.

    “It’s exciting to be going out with everyone else, I never tire of it, it’s amazing. It is just as exciting to be selected this time as it was the first.

    “The competition just keeps going up and up and better and better, there are so many good horses now both here and aboard.”

    The team is supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme, Dodson & Horrell, Equi-Trek, Land Rover, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.

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