27 August 2021
Equestrian stars on course for medal in team event
ParalympicsGB are on track to medal in the equestrian team test as Sir Lee Pearson, Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells sit in third place overnight and best of the teams with one athlete still left to ride.
Grade II rider Pearson started well on Saturday, on his home-bred horse Breezer, with a score of 77.636 before Grade III star Baker followed on Keystone Dawn Chorus, adding 76.618.
The total of 154.254 means Great Britain currently sit in third position although the only countries ahead of them – Singapore and Canada – have had all three riders compete already.
They’re just 1.727 points ahead of fourth-placed United States, who also have a rider to come on Sunday, with Wells the final Brit to ride tomorrow on her horse Don Cara – with gold medal hopes still very much alive.
Natasha Baker is looking to add a team medal to her individual silver
Pearson said: “I am over the moon with that! [Breezer] was quite frightened. He’s a very sensitive soul and a horse that tightens up and is intimidated within the arena, walking is the worst thing.
“I’m so proud of him. I held his hand and he trusted me, and I could be sitting here with a different story completely! I rode him on eggshells.
“He’s sensitive but at the same time, that sensitivity when it’s on side, makes him fabulous.
“Every day I go in an arena, even if it’s an affiliated at home, you just want to do your best and you don’t want your horse to feel intimidated.
“You want them to feel relaxed and do a great test but as a horseman, you have to deal with everything that comes your way. I’m dead proud!”
All three ParalympicsGB riders have already won medals at this Games, with Pearson taking his 12th title in the Grade II individual event, Baker following suit with a silver in the Grade III equivalent and Wells also adding silver in the Grade V event.
Sir Lee Pearson wants Breezer to get more exposure to big competition environments
Wells and Baker are defending the team title they won in Rio five years ago, while Pearson is delighted that the relatively inexperienced Breezer is getting more exposure to elite events and wants para-equestrian to become a staple of the biggest shows.
He added: “It’s a competition environment. That’s why I’m grateful we haven’t got 10,000 people sat in the arena because I think that would be overload for Breezer.
“We’ve got to get him used to that for Paris [2024 Paralympics] so if any of the big venues at home, like Horse of the Year Show and Your Horse Live and Olympia can have us doing some displays, you can possibly be helping us win gold medals in Paris.”
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