Georgia Wilson takes early lead for Britain on first day of Paralympic dressage

  • The Paralympic dressage kicked off in Tokyo today (26 August), with Britain’s Georgia Wilson going into the lead during the early stages of the grade II individual championship at the Tokyo Games.

    Paralympic dressage debutante Georgia scored 72.76% to sit in the provisional gold medal position aboard the seven-year-old mare Sakura. They pulled off a very smart test in sweltering conditions, with the Supertramp mare demonstrating active paces and a lovely frame, and Georgia, who is trained by Sophie Wells, riding an accurate and flowing test at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park.

    They received at least one seven for every single movement, with the highlights being their square halts, purposeful medium walk and balanced eight-metre circles.

    “I just focused on my key points and it all came off. Sophie told me to get my turns right and not do too sharp turns,” said a delighted Georgia. “I’m glad I got two good halts, that’s my main [highlight], but also just to go in there and ride a really nice test, and put into practice what we’ve been practising over the year – and to get it in the arena.

    “Suki takes this all in her stride, and isn’t bothered about anything. She’s very kind and always very relaxed, even on the plane she was busy eating and thinking about food.”

    The pair were a late call-up for the team, after the sad withdrawal of Sophie Christiansen and Innuendo III the week before the squad travelled to Tokyo. Georgia is the reigning grade II freestyle European champion with her more experienced mare Midnight, but this is Sakura’s first championship, the pair having teamed up in September 2020.

    “I was reserve so I always had to prepare as if I was going, so if the call-up came I was ready,” explained Georgia. “I was very sad for Sophie Christiansen, but I was really pleased to have the call-up and to come to my first Paralympics. I hope I can follow in Sophie’s footsteps.”

    Britain’s Lee Pearson will also be in action in the grade II individual, entering the arena with his home-bred gelding Breezer at 5.20pm (9.20am UK time). Sophie Wells will also stake her claim to defend her individual Paralympic title in the grade V, riding Don Cara M at 10.20pm (2.20pm UK time).

    The fourth member of the British squad, grade III rider Natasha Baker, will compete in her individual championship tomorrow with Keystone Dawn Chorus.

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