Lee Pearson will compete as an individual in the Paralympic dressage in Rio. The British team aiming to maintain their unbeaten championship record will be made up of the other four members of the squad: Sophie Christiansen (Athene Lindebjerg), Anne Dunham (Lucas Normark), Natasha Baker (Cabral) and Sophie Wells (Valerius).
Lee, 42, who was chosen as the flag-bearer for ParalympicsGB at Wednesday’s opening ceremony, has been a stalwart of the British team since his first Paralympics in Sydney in 2000, when he also took home double individual gold. This is the first time in five Paralympics that he won’t form part of the team, but he and the 12-year-old Flemmingh gelding Zion will be strong contenders for individual and freestyle medals at grade Ib.
This means that Britain will have to wait until Monday for a team performance, as Lee is the only Brit in action on Sunday (11 September). He will perform the team test at 2.18pm (6.18pm UK time).
Natasha Baker, 26, will be competing on a Paralympic team for the first time, having ridden as the individual in London and scooping double gold at her debut Games aboard the 15-year-old Polish-bred gelding Cabral.
Tomorrow’s action kicks off with the grade III team test, but the section will be without one of its major medal contenders. Hannelore Brenner was forced to withdraw the 11-year-old Kawango after the Siztus gelding sustained an injury just two days before he was due to fly to Rio. This was due to be the pair’s first championship appearance together, after ‘Kiwi’ picked up an injury in 2015.
Poland’s Karolina Karwowska and Emol will be the first combination into the Paralympic arena in Deodoro, at 10am (2pm UK time).
More information about how to follow the Paralympic dressage can be found here, and don’t forget to stay tuned to the H&H website for the latest news, results and scores.
Don’t miss our full Paralympic report in the 22 September issue of H&H.