Another para gold for Britain's Lee Pearson

October 9, 2010

Britain's Para Dressage riders added two more Individual Freestyle medals to their impressive haul today, with a third gold for Lee Pearson in the Grade Ib and a bronze for Jo Pitt in the Grade II, which was won by Germany's Angelika Trabert.


Angelika Trabert and Ariva-Avanti from Germany took Freestyle Grade 2 gold in the Para Dressage Championship today. © FEI/Dirk Caremans


Lee Pearson and Gentleman won the Grade 1b freestyle competition. © Kate Houghton/FEI

Pearson's World Championship record is legendary. He was a double gold medallist in Denmark in 1999, took Team and Individual gold in Moorsele, Belgium in 2003 and team and two individual titles on his home turf in Hartpury, Great Britain in 2007. This week he has excelled once again with a hat-trick of gold medals riding Gentleman, but another new star has also been born.

The spectators in the covered arena have been thrilled by the performances of Denmark's Stinna Tange Kaastrup and her New Forest pony Labbenus Snoevs, and today she shone once more when adding Freestyle 1b silver to the team and individual bronze she took earlier in the week. Finland's Katja Karialainen and her 12 year old bay mare, Rosie, today took Freestyle 1b bronze. Karjalanen has been riding her mare for only a short time - "Rosie was a Christmas present!" she said.

Pearson was critical of his test and a bit surprised at the result. "My horse warmed up a dream. He was beautiful, hard working and really concentrating. Then we entered the arena and he got behind my leg. I had to ride every movement. I felt he could have done better and helped me out a little more. I am more picky than the judges - I was quite shocked with the scores, I didn't think I did that well!" he said.

Kaastrup has been riding her 14 year old pony for more than two years - "when I first got him I had to teach him my way, which took about a year". The 16-year-old rider bought Labbenhus Snoevs off the internet. She has thoroughly enjoyed her Games experience - "it's been amazing" she said today, "especially in the team medal ceremony when my team-mates picked me up! I am very privileged and it means the world to me to represent my country. I could not have done this without the help of my mother, Heidi, and my trainer Lotte Straarup, and now my next hope is for the Olympic Games!" she said.

Grade 2

In Grade 2 it was Germany's Angelika Trabert who swept to victory with a great ride on her bay mare Ariva-Avanti.

Trabert produced some lovely work from Ariva-Avanti to achieve her winning score of 75.900. And The Netherlands' Gert Bolmer was a close second riding Triumph, who put a mark of 75.850 on the board. Trabert's trot-work was particularly special as confirmed in the above picture, Ariva-Avanti displaying a light, forward movement that helped ensure the winning scoreline.

And bronze medallist, Britain's Jo Pitt, was pleased with her gelding Estralita. "He's just got better and better all week and was easy to ride today. I've been working so hard for this and to get a mid-70% score at this level, well, I'm very satisfied," she said after putting 74.950 on the board.

"I went out today and enjoyed myself. He was easier to ride and I'm pleased with the mark. I really didn't know what to expect and just went in and did my best which the mark reflected today. I've dedicated the last year to preparing for these championships and to score mid 70s in freestyle is very satisfying. It's amazing to be here and see the best of everything and be a part of it!" Pitt said.

The stats

22 riders competed in Freestyle Grade 2
17 riders competed in Freestyle Grade 1b