Natasha Baker: This was a warm-up for Tokyo *H&H VIP*


  • Winning silver was fantastic for Britain at the para dressage European Championships. The team came here thinking they might not score a medal at all, and would that have been such a disaster, with three new combinations? They didn’t scrape it either, they won it convincingly — Nicky Greenhill didn’t even have to do the team test and we already had it in the bag. That is extraordinary.

    As a country we know we have lots of exciting new horses waiting in the wings. This has been a warm-up for Tokyo, and it shows how much strength and depth there is — not just in Britain, but in the sport as a whole.

    The biggest turnaround for the sport in 2020 will be that the Paralympics are going to be televised. That’s going to be a massive help; it will be good for owners, good for sponsors, good for every single stakeholder within para dressage. Finally we will be seen on national and international television and that’s a real step in the right direction.

    National support

    At the moment we don’t have the same sort of support as the Dutch do, with all their team horses on the government NOP scheme, which provides funding to ensure they will stay in the Netherlands until after Tokyo. I was horse shopping over the winter and we don’t really get any support with it. It’s up to us to find them, buy them, find owners for them — and it’s really hard.

    Saying that, the Dutch team has been the same since Rio 2016, whereas we have had 12 different riders on championship teams since then. Yes we have won silver not gold for the past two years, but we have convincingly won silver with new combinations. The Netherlands will have to watch out next year.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 29 August 2019