Friday was freestyle day at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and Lee Pearson showed that he is not to be intimidated. Last to go, he rode into his test looking very confident, though he said afterwards that he didn’t feel like that. He scored an affirmative 80.05%, the highest score of these para games to show that he is still “the godfather” of para dressage.
“The standard has really gone up since London, and two judges still had me as second, but Zion has been amazing,” he said afterwards.
The audience love Lee’s music, it expresses his flamboyance and emphasizes the paces of his horse as well as throwing down the gauntlet to the judges. It includes Queen’s We Are The Champions and Fame and always makes the spectators smile.
“I just like the pumping rhythm of the music, and it’s fun.” he said.
Lee’s rival Austria’s Pepo Puch, on Fine Feelings, also rode a flamboyant test to great music and scored 78%, with the Netherlands’ Nicole Den Dulk on Wallace third with 75.15%.
The Italian camp let rip with screams of joy quickly followed by tears when Sophie Christiansen and Janeiro 6 were once again beaten by the impressive Sara Morganti on her nine-year-old Rheinlander mare Royal Delight in the grade la.
“I can’t believe it, it’s like a dream come true!” she said.
It shows how determined our para athletes are that Sophie was disappointed to go home with silver.
In the grade IV Sophie Wells and Valerius also had to contend with coming second again, to the determined and talented Belgian Michele George on FBW Rainman, and in grade II Natasha Baker suffered more bad luck when Cabral was very spooky and shied several times leaving her with an uncharacteristically low score of 65.5%.
The class was won by the Dutch rider Rixt van der Horst on Uniek, giving her a total of two gold medals to take home from these championships.
Today’s video interviews
H&H's Madeleine Hill talks to Lee Pearson at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) about what it means to be a
H&H interviews British para dressage rider Sophie Christiansen after she claimed silver in the grade Ia freestyle at the World