Temperatures soar in Herning as Georgia Wilson opens Britain’s medal campaign

  • Georgia Wilson put the first British team score on the board in the Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para Dressage Championships results, as the Brits open their campaign for a team medal in Herning.

    Georgia produced a smart test with the eight-year-old Supertramp mare Sakura, posting 72.97% to sit third at the halfway stage of the grade II in the World Para Dressage Championships results. Despite her score being lower than some of those she has previously posted in this test, Georgia was very happy with her ride, and said that it felt better than in the individual competition.

    “I felt like I didn’t just go in there and freeze – I actually rode her, rather than being a passenger,” said Georgia, who is competing at her first World Para Dressage Championships. Her test featured some lovely walk segments, including fluid leg yields with lovely crossing.

    “She felt a bit more rideable, a bit calmer and was listening to me a bit more. I enjoyed it, even though it was boiling hot.”

    Temperatures have risen to 32 degrees in Herning, with several riders commenting that it has felt hotter than at the Tokyo Paralympics last summer.

    “It is a more intense heat here,” said Georgia. “In Tokyo we had a breeze which was nice.”

    World Para Dressage Championships results: Danes set strong standard

    Georgia was followed into the grade II arena by Austria’s Pepo Puch, who laid down a chunky 75.44% to go second in the World Para Dressage Championships results, behind Denmark’s Katrine Kristensen and Goerklintgaards Quater, who posted 77.18% to take the top spot in the grade II standings so far.

    “I’m so thrilled, today was an amazing test. He was really with me, a bit more calm so I really had the time to show the different things in the test today and I was calm myself. I really tried to do my best,” said Katrine, who added that although her individual gold earlier in the week helped give her a lift, it also put on the pressure as she was so keen to do as well again. “My trainer said I should ride safely, but also try to improve some things from last time.”

    “It would mean so much for Denmark just to get on the podium,” she added.

    Britain’s Lee Pearson comes later in this same class, riding his home-bred gelding Breezer at 4.34pm local time (3.34pm BST). The other two members of the British team, Natasha Baker (grade III) and Sophie Wells (grade V) will be in action tomorrow, on the second day of team competition.

    It was at the last para dressage World Championships in 2018 that Britain were pipped to team gold for the first time in para dressage history, with the Netherlands taking the top spot on the podium in Tryon. Britain did maintain their unbeaten Paralympic run of gold in Tokyo in 2021, however, and have come to Herning hoping that they can also claim gold here. But they will be pushed all the way by the Danish and Dutch teams in particular, who have looked very strong so far in the competition.

    In a shake-up of the format this year, that sees riders performing the “team test” in the individual contests and the “individual test” in the team competition, the scores across both tests will be combined to determine the eight riders in each grade who will progress to the freestyle on Sunday, 14 August.

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