There was a dramatic conclusion to the Adequan-sponsored para dressage at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon today (Saturday, 22 September), as Britain’s Natasha Baker suffered a nasty fall during her final test.
Natasha was in the early stages of her grade III freestyle with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, with whom she took individual and team silver earlier in the week, when the mare suddenly leapt forward and fly bucked. Natasha was unhurt in the fall.
“I actually have no idea what happened — it’s so out of character for her as she’s an angel,” said Natasha of the nine-year-old mare she has leased from the Mount St John stud since January.
“As we were coming down the slope to the 10 minute box we passed [Australian rider] Emma Booth who had just finished her test and the Australian mascot, a bright yellow kangaroo, was following, which set Diva off a bit. Then we walked in and the crowd were massively cheering for Rixt [van der Horst] and that set her off in the tunnel.
“I’m fine though — my ego is bruised and probably my bum too, but what a way to do it,” joked the multi-medalled Paralympian.
“I don’t know what got into her today but it’s out of character. We’re going to sit back on her now to give her some confidence back as I think she’s a little shell-shocked about what happened as well.”
Natasha exited the arena on her electric wheelchair and was a good enough sport to give the crowd a wave and a thumbs up on the way out.
The class was won by Dutch pair Rixt van der Horst and Findsley, with Britain’s Erin Orford finishing fifth with Dior.
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Horse & Hound’s bumper magazine reports from WEG will be in the issues dated 20 September (dressage and eventing) and 27 September (showjumping and para dressage).