‘She’s so talented’: Rio gold medallist takes on exciting new rides

  • Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Wells has added an exciting trio of horses to her string.

    Dime, a 10-year-old Westenwind mare, arrived at Sophie’s Lincolnshire yard from Holland just under two weeks ago and is currently training at grand prix.

    She’s so talented for the piaffe and pirouettes, though still needs to get stronger in some of her other work,” said Sophie, who trained her Rio Paralympic partner Valerius up to grand prix before the gelding was diagnosed with a suspensory injury in both hind legs in January this year.

    It’s a bit different having a horse who has already been trained to that level as normally I start them myself. It’s all about figuring out which buttons to push, and getting her stronger so she can lift herself.”

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    Although Sophie hadn’t specifically been hunting for a new grand prix ride, she has been on the lookout for some time for a horse to act as a back-up for her top ride, World Equestrian Games para team hopeful, C Fatal Attraction.

    I wasn’t expecting a grand prix horse to come along, but then again opportunities tend not to arise when you’re looking for them,” grade V rider Sophie told H&H.

    “There’s no fixed plan for Dime – we’ll see how she comes on and do whatever we feel she needs. She may do some para competition to help get her stronger, as that has really helped the others. Because you’re not pushing them to perform the higher level movements [grade V tests are roughly equivalent to prix st georges level], it gives them a chance to consolidate the basics.”

    Also joining Sophie’s string are two younger horses: the five-year-old OFS Diamond Crusader (Loki), bought in partnership with Oakleigh Farm Stud, and already achieving success in young horse ranks, and the Charmeur four-year-old Classic Jillz Geuzenhof (JZ, pictured above), who came from Rebecca Hughes at Classic Dressage, and is now owned by Charlotte Hogg.

    I’ve been looking for a horse since Rio and now three of them have come at once!” said Sophie. “They’re all very different, but all exciting.”

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