The British Equestrian Federation has today, 14 July 2017, announced the UK Sport National Lottery funded para-equestrian dressage squad which will compete at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden (21-27 August 2017).
Spearheading the team is triple 2016 Paralympic medallist Sophie Wells with her European 2015 multi-medallist C Fatal Attraction; the all-female quartet is completed by three athletes who each receive their first call-up to a senior squad, with Natasha Adkinson, Suzanna Hext and Julie Payne set to make their championship debuts later next month.
The squad has been named by British Dressage selectors as (in alphabetical order);
Natasha Adkinson, Grade II, age 24, based Lincolnshire, with Yvonne Bennett and her own Sweet Caledonia
Suzanna Hext, Grade III, age 28, based Gloucestershire, with Charlie and Pammy Hutton’s Abira
Julie Payne, Grade I, age 56, based Oxfordshire, with Di Redfern‘s Athene Lindebjerg
Sophie Wells MBE, Grade V, age 27, based Nottinghamshire, with Charlotte Hogg and her own C Fatal Attraction
Suzanna is also selected with Henrietta Cheetham and the Lady Joseph Trust’s LJT Enggaards Solitaire, and Sophie with Valerius, both as direct reserves.
Selected Non-Travelling Reserves (in alphabetical order);
Izzy Palmer, Grade IV, age 16, based in West Yorkshire, with Nicola Wells and Sophie Wells’s Touchdown M
Susanna Wade, Grade I, age 50, based in Lincolnshire, with her own D'Artagnan
Para-Dressage Performance Manager, Sarah Armstrong says; “I’m delighted that the National Lottery funded Programme has allowed us to grow the strength and depth in so many combinations across our Podium and Podium Potential squads. The 2017 selections will allow a number of new combinations to target personal bests on the world stage - I’m also thrilled for Sophie Wells, in that she again has the opportunity to campaign her home-produced horse at this year’s championships.
“The all-female selected squad, along with the wider squad members, have all worked incredibly hard this year for a place on the team amongst a very competitive peer group. Our final preparation will now sharpen an already very focussed team to deliver their best performances in Gothenburg this summer.”
Chief Executive of British Dressage, Jason Brautigam adds; “It’s always a special occasion to get your first call up to represent your country at a major Championships, so it’s a pleasure to welcome our three debutantes to the fold, as well as congratulate Sophie on her ninth straight Championship team selection. There is always plenty of competition for team places in the para squad, but this quartet and our reserves prove that hard work, dedication and commitment can reap the deserved rewards. Gothenburg provides our new faces with the ideal opportunity to obtain invaluable Championship experience, while we build the pool of riders and horses available for selection for the World Equestrian Games next year and beyond, as we look ahead to Tokyo 2020.”
The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.