All five riders who helped scoop 11 medals at the London 2012 Paralympics have been named in the list of nominated riders for Rio. Sophie Christiansen, Lee Pearson, Sophie Wells, Natasha Baker and Deb Criddle all feature on the long list, released yesterday (21 June).
Two riders have been named with two horses — Sophie Christiansen is listed with her multi-medalled London ride Janeiro 6, as well as her newer mount Athene Lindebjerg. H&H blogger Sophie Wells has Valerius nominated in addition to C Fatal Attraction.
The full list of nominated combinations in alphabetical order are:
- Natasha Adkinson (grade Ib) with Sweet Caledonia (eight-year-old mare by San Remo)
- Natasha Baker (grade II) with Cabral (15-year-old Polish sport horse)
- Heather Bennett (grade III) with Zavailantika (12-year-old mare by Rhodium)
- Sophie Christiansen (grade Ia) with Janeiro 6 (19-year-old gelding by Jacquare) and Athene Lindebjerg (nine-year-old mare by Gribaldi)
- Deb Criddle (grade III) with Akilles (16-year-old gelding by Amiral)
- Anne Dunham (grade Ia) with Lucas Normark (15-year-old gelding by Ravaldi)
- Nicky Greenhill (grade III) with Gregorian Chant (12-year-old gelding by French Kiss)
- Susanna Hext (grade II) with Abira (16-year-old gelding by Don Perignon)
- Erin Orford (grade II) with Dior (13-year-old mare by Dimaggio)
- Lee Pearson (grade Ib) with Zion (12-year-old gelding by Flemming H)
- Sophie Wells (grade IV) with Valerius (14-year-old gelding by Flemming H) and C Fatal Attraction (nine-year-old gelding by Fidertanz)
One notable absence is that of Beijing Paralympian Ricky Balshaw, who announced his retirement from the sport to become a car salesman earlier this month.
More Olympic team news…
Among those with a chance of representing Britain at championships level for the first time is H&H blogger Suzanna Hext, for whom it is almost four years since the accident that left her with life-changing injuries. She described the news that she had been nominated as “completely surreal”.
The final selection of five riders will be made on 14 July, following the Hartpury CPEDI3* (6-10 July), the last opportunity for those in the running to impress the selectors.