Natasha Baker MBE, based in Middlesex, has won Individual Silver with her new ride, Mount St John Diva Dannebrog in the Grade III class at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina USA.
At just their third international competition together, Natasha has won her first senior championship medal with Diva [Mount St John Dannebrog] after less than a year together.
Drawn first to go in the class, Natasha and Diva, owned by The Mount St John Stud, entered the Tryon Stadium for their first competition outing of the week. As their performance went on they grew in confidence and after a lovely test, were rewarded with a score of 72.471%, a score that could only be bettered by Rixt van der Horst from The Netherlands and her mount Findsley, who topped the standings with a score of 73.735%.
A delighted Natasha said; “To get a silver medal with seven months of riding her is just insane! If somebody had told me in January that I would be competing here I would have told them they were lying.
“She [Mount St John Diva Dannebrog] was amazing; she went in there like she owned it and I am so proud of everything that we have achieved in such a short space of time. I am so grateful to her owners [Mount St John Stud] for giving me this opportunity.”
Commenting on her new horse, Natasha added; “Everything is new. I knew JP inside out and I knew how he would have been in there whereas I am still learning about Diva. It’s such a learning curve coming here with a new horse but I’ve got more years to get to know her.”
Last in the class was fellow British team member, Erin Orford with Annabel Whittet’s Dior, both making their world championship debut. After a small mistake early on, they came back to finish positively, ending on a final score of 68.853%.
Commenting afterwards; "I'm disappointed with the performance, for my team and everyone who's supported me - it's not what we came here to do. She's a super talented horse and has felt great all year and in training out here so I wanted to show that in the test but unfortunately that wasn't possible today. I hope that experience will help to build her confidence so that we can perform the test for the team that I know we're capable of.”
Both Natasha and Erin will both compete in the team competition on Friday.
Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from the British Equestrian Federation Fund and official partners Dodson and Horrell, Equi-Trek, FALPRO England, Musto, NAF and Point Two.