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Britain wins team gold at para equestrian champs

August 24, 2009

Grade IV winner Sophie Wells riding Pinnochio.

The British Para Equestrian Dressage team is considered the best in the world and this was confirmed during the second day of the 2009 FEI Para Equestrian European and Open Championship. Britain won team gold, followed by Germany (silver) and The Netherland in bronze.

Sophie Christiansen (GBR) defended her gold medal from 2005. "I was so nervous, I couldn't sleep last night but Lambrusco III was brilliant today. I improved what the judges criticized yesterday and it paid off," said Sophie. She was rewarded with the highest score of the day, 74,200%.

"Much of the British success is the result of good development programmes and funding meant at young talented riders," explained Sophie Wells, Grade IV winner.

At only 19, she is establishing herself amongst the world's best riders and naturally she is hoping for another victory but, "One can control neither the horse nor the judges one hundred percent," she emphasizes.

Hannelore Brenner was the best of the Germans (73.520%). "I am very satisfied but there is still some room for improvement in my forward riding," she said.

"We have a difficult freestyle for tomorrow, and I hope we have a chance to show what we can do."

Her mare with the catchy name "Woman of the World" does not always like the indoors where the freestyle will be.

Despite the heavy rain on the previous day, the Dressage arena remained in excellent condition.

"It is great footing here which is impressive considering how much it rained yesterday," said the first winner of the Championships, Germany's Angelika Trabert. The rider, who was born without legs and with only three fingers on her right hand, was very satisfied with her horse.

"At the Paralympics in Hong Kong, Londria was very nervous, so I'm pleased with how she went today. She was very calm and relaxed, but she didn't like one corner of the arena where people walked on the road behind. Unfortunately the first extended trot went towards that corner. But she paid attention and kept focused on me. Which is important because if she gets distracted she doesn't notice my aids," she explained.



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