Britain’s Sophie Wells went one better than her London silver today, claiming gold in the grade IV individual championship with her own Valerius. H&H blogger Sophie and the powerful 14-year-old Flemmingh gelding gave it their all in plus-30 degree heat to score 74.85% with a faultless test that was full of expression and energy.
It was clear from Sophie’s tears on the podium how much this gold medal — her first individually — meant to her.
“There are no words out there to describe how I’m feeling right now,” said an emotional Sophie. “I’m so proud of ‘Reece’ and my support team for being able to go out there and do it when it mattered.
Sophie’s score will also have given the British team’s chances of gold a significant boost. The team medals will be decided tomorrow.
“During the test you just think about each movement as it comes but when we finished there was a surge of emotion that he just couldn’t have done anything more. I started crying and haven’t stopped since!”
‘I’ll be back, I promise’
London individual gold medallist, Belgium’s Michele George, had to settle for silver this time, finishing just fractionally below Sophie with 74.33%. Her London partner, the 14-year-old Rubicell son FBW Rainman is very correct and fluid, and Michele admitted that she was disappointed with her score today.
“He felt great and he was really working for me, so I can’t complain on that front. But if I’m honest I am disappointed with the score — I cannot understand what went wrong.
“But I can’t wait for the freestyle. I have to put it behind me and not make it bigger than it is. This time it was Sophie, but I’ll be back next time, I promise!”
Repeating his bronze from London was Dutch rider Frank Hosmar, who piloted Alphaville to 72.45% — a score 2% higher than the provisional score he was initially given.
Lee Pearson will try to do the double for Britain today, competing in the grade Ib individual championship with Zion at 6.18pm BST.
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.