26 August 2021
Baker bags silver to further boost equestrian medal tally
Natasha Baker kept the equestrian medals flowing in Tokyo with ParalympicsGB’s fourth gong in two days, clinching an incredible silver in the dressage grade III individual test on Keystone Dawn Chorus.
The five-time Paralympic champion had seen Sir Lee Pearson romp to a 12th Games gold medal during the opening bout of equestrian action a day earlier, while Sophie Wells and Georgia Wilson also bagged a silver and bronze respectively.
Despite having such tough acts to follow Baker and ten-year-old mare Keystone Dawn Chorus showcased the sort of composure that had helped elevate the former to two Paralympic titles at London 2012 and a further three in Rio, yielding an impressive score of 76.265 per cent.
Natasha Baker on her way to silver in the dressage grade III individual test
Only Denmark’s Tobias Thorning Joergensen could top that mark by 2.706 per cent, sealing a second-place finish and a sixth Games medal for Baker who admitted such a performance had surpassed even her own expectations.
“I’m so, so happy with Lottie [Keystone Dawn Chorus],” said Baker, 31. “She had a little spook at the commentators’ speaker when we went past, and she doesn’t normally do that, but I just tried to give her as much confidence as I could in the arena.
“I don’t think it was the best test we’ve done this year, but the most important thing was that she let me ride her. I gave her a nice confidence-giving ride.
“It’s the first time she’s been out of the UK, it’s by far the biggest arena she’s ever been in, and I’m just proud with how she’s dealt with it. To come away with a silver medal is amazing.”
It’s the first time she’s been out of the UK, it’s by far the biggest arena she’s ever been in, and I’m just proud with how she’s dealt with it
Achieving a podium finish should be regarded as all the more impressive considering that Baker and her horse have only been riding together since March 2019, with the Covid-19 pandemic restricting their competition involvement to the UK prior to Tokyo.
In such circumstances Baker is already looking ahead to battling for individual gold at the Paris Paralympics in three years’ time, following further involvement across the coming days in the Japanese capital.
She added: “I’d only just got her a couple of months before the Europeans, and then last year was a write-off. We’ve just done our best in the circumstances we’ve been given, but all of the top horses in my class have done World Championships, European Championships, and they’ve travelled.
Baker is expecting big things from ten-year-old mare Keystone Dawn Chorus in years to come
“Everything has been new, so I’m just really proud we were able to go in there and deliver that kind of performance.
“Fighting for gold was never our aim here - our main aim is Paris. We can take this result home, build on that and be all guns blazing in three years’ time.
“But even between now and tomorrow I’m going to go in there feeling so much more confident. Tomorrow I can really go in there and ride her more.”
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