Dutch star sets high standard in grade III individual with Britain’s Natasha Baker still to ride

  • Dutch rider Rixt van der Horst has opened her bid to become the Paralympic dressage grade III champion at the Tokyo Games.

    She and her world champion mare Findsley produced a very smart test to earn 75.76% and take an early lead in the grade III individual class, the final of the individual competitions at these Paralympics.

    “I was really happy with the feeling of my horse and the transitions were really smooth,” said Rixt, adding that the extra year has been beneficial for her training with the 11-year-old Belissimo mare.  “We had a bit of quiet time and then we trained really hard on the basics and from there we really perfected things.”

    Rixt faces a long wait until the end of this big class to find out if she will reach the podium at what is her first Paralympic Games. She would certainly have started the class as one of the favourites, but with the likes of Britain’s Natasha Baker, Denmark’s Tobias Thorning Jorgensen, Germany’s Steffen Zeibig and the USA’s Rebecca Hart yet to come, there is plenty of potential for Rixt’s dominance to be challenged.

    Britain’s Natasha will ride Keystone Dawn Chorus at 8.36pm (12.36pm UK time), aiming to add to her haul of Paralympic dressage medals. This is however the Dimaggio mare’s first championship.

    Currently holding the silver medal position at the midway point is France’s Chiara Zenati with Swing Royal on a score of 71.06%. Just behind her in the provisional bronze medal spot is Belgium’s Belgium Minneci with Stuart, who posted 70.85%.

    Keep up with all the Paralympic dressage results as they come in.

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