Natasha Baker connected instantly with horse Mount St John Diva Dannebrog and will be looking to show it with medals at the World Equestrian Games in September.

Baker is part of the four-rider para-dressage squad named by the British Equestrian Federation with Erin Orford on Dior, Sir Lee Pearson on Styletta and Sophie Wells on C Fatal Attraction all included for the event in North Carolina.

Two-time Paralympic gold medallist Wells is also on the reserve list with Gladstone, alongside Suzanna Hext (LJT Enggaards Solitaire), Isobelle Palmer (Touchdown M) and Georgia Wilson (Midnight).

“I’m so, so proud of everything we’ve achieved this year,” said five-time Paralympic gold medallist Baker. “Massive thanks to Mount St John and my whole team for their support.

“To build such a partnership in such a short space of time, I just can’t believe it. I’m so grateful and massively excited for the World Equestrian Games.

Quote

She is the perfect horse for me, I knew it the first time I rode her she was perfect, it was love at first ride.

Natasha Baker MBE

“It will only be her second time abroad with me, and it’ll be my first time competing in America, but I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it and do my best.”

The World Equestrian Games will run from September 11 to 23 in Tryon, North Carolina and will be Wells’ third appearance at the Championships.

“I’m really chuffed. To be going on a horse you’ve had since they were young is going to be really special,” she said.

“For Jorge [C Fatal Attraction] to be selected for his first Worlds is just fantastic, and it’s going to be my third; it’s less daunting as I was out in Kentucky for the Worlds in 2010.”

Great Britain won four para-dressage gold medals at the World Equestrian Games four years ago with Pearson (two) and Sophie Christiansen claiming individual titles in addition to a team success.

Sir Lee Pearson during the 2016 Paralympic Games

And para-dressage performance manager Sarah Armstrong is confident the team will be perfectly prepared for the challenges that await them in the United States.

“I know that the four selected athletes will be best prepared to deliver personal bests in an increasingly competitive environment,” she said.

“I am delighted for the selected athletes; the team is a combination of experience – from the human athletes, and it’s really exciting to see new equine athletes coming through.

“The squad in its entirety have worked incredibly hard in 2017-18 and with the support of their home teams, the World Class Programme practitioner team and our new coaching structure.”

++The announced squad is (in alphabetical order):++

Natasha Baker MBE, grade III, from Uxbridge, Middlesex, with the Mount St John Stud’s Mount St John Diva Dannebrog

Erin Orford, grade III, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, with Annabel Whittet’s Dior

Sir Lee Pearson, grade II, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with his and Mr and Mrs D Pearson’s Styletta

Sophie Wells MBE, grade V, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, with Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction

Selected reserves (in alphabetical order):

Suzanna Hext, grade II, from Gloucestershire, with the Lady Joseph Trust and Henrietta Cheetham’s LJT Enggaards Solitaire

Isobelle Palmer, grade IV, from West Yorkshire, with Mrs N Wells and Sophie Wells’ Touchdown M

Sophie Wells MBE, grade V, with Jackie and Neil Walker, Valerie Woolford and her own Gladstone

Georgia Wilson, grade II, from Conwy, with her own Midnight

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