Tokyo Paralympic dressage start times: Britain’s Natasha Baker to start her campaign – ‘I’m super excited’

  • Start times for the second day of Paralympic dressage competition at the Tokyo Games have been revealed, with Britain’s Natasha Baker starting her campaign on what promises to be an action-packed day.

    Grade I and grade III combinations will be gunning for individual medals at the Equestrian Park in Baji Koen today (Friday, 27 August).

    British riders’ times: day two (Friday, 27 August)

    • Grade III: Natasha Baker (Keystone Dawn Chorus), 8.36pm (12.36pm BST)

    Tokyo Paralympic dressage start times: who to look out for on day one

    • Grade I: world number one and multiple record-breakers Roxanne Trunnell (Dolton), 4.24pm (8.24am BST)
    • Grade I: Ireland’s Michael Murphy (Cleverboy) is likely to set a strong challenge, based on recent results, 4.40pm (8.40 BST)
    • Grade I: Norway’s Jens Lasse Dokkan (Aladdin), the only competitor to have ridden at every Paralympic Games since dressage joined the programme in 1996, 5.14pm (9.40 BST)
    • Grade III: Rixt van der Host (Findsley), from the Netherlands, won triple gold at the 2018 World Equestrian Games followed by double silver and team gold at the 2019 Europeans, 7.30pm (11.30am BST)
    • Grade III: Denmark’s double European gold medal-winner Tobias Thorning Jorgensen (Jolene Hill), 8.52pm (12.52pm BST)
    • Grade III: Japan’s Sho Inaba (Exclusive) are in action for the home side, 9.34pm (1.34pm)

    Natasha Baker: ‘I’m going to come out and do my best’

    London 2012 and Rio 2016 defending champion Natasha Baker is the sole British rider in action today, following a phenomenal start from the British squad yesterday with all three riders taking home a medal.

    This is Natasha’s third Paralympic Games and the first for her ride Keystone Dawn Chorus (“Lottie”), who she co-owns with Joanna Jensen, Christian Landolt and her parents Lorraine and Phil Baker.

    Natasha and the 10-year-old Dimaggio mare head to Tokyo on the back of a string of strong international results. These include personal bests in all three tests on their last outing ahead of the Games at Hartpury CPEDI, where they wowed the judges to score 76.41% in the individual test.

    “I’m super excited, I had a really good arena familiarisation [on Wednesday] and we’ve taken it really slow, and just gradually built on it day by day,” said Natasha. “I’m just going to come out and do my best.”

    Natasha added that the mare didn’t eat during her journey to the Games, so the team has been keeping a close eye on her. Thankfully her appetite quickly returned and the pair are thriving in the Tokyo heat.

    “She’s completely fine and she’s actually been the coolest horse on the team,” said Natasha, referring to the frequent temperature checks all horses are having while out here.

    “She’s dealing with the heat really, really well, and she’s fit. Everything’s kind of gone according to plan so far, touching wood. Lottie is good and now she’s eating again, which is fab.

    “I love [the heat]. I haven’t had to do as much warming up [of my own body], because I’m already warm. I don’t do well with cold weather, but this is like my perfect temperature. My body is just naturally warmed up as soon as I get in the saddle, so I can crack straight on.

    “I’m having daily physio so that’s keeping me nice and loose – we’re doing our stretchy sessions in the morning at the hotel. I’m absolutely loving it.”

    Natasha reflected on Britain’s stellar opening day, with all three of her ParalympicGB squadmates bagging a medal. Sir Lee Pearson and Breezer claimed individual grade II gold, with Paralympic debutantes Georgia Wilson and Sakura scooping bronze. Sophie Wells completed Britain’s day one hat-trick with individual grade V silver aboard Don Cara M (“Donnie”).

    “I think it’s been so different coming here having no pressure and expectation,” said Natasha, adding Britain’s results last night were “incredible”.

    “None of our horses have done a championship – my horse and Donnie, have never been out of the country before – so we’re just proud that they’ve taken everything in their stride.

    “I think we’ve always thought coming into this that our main goal is Paris 2024, because the horses will be more experienced by then, they will be older, we’ll have had more time with them.

    “They’ve been incredible. So we’re just going in there to do our best and to hope for great experiences and confidence for the horses. That is every single one of our goals in that arena, and whatever the outcome is, then great. Obviously [last night] we had an amazing outcome. It’s exciting for three years time, isn’t it!”

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