The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has today confirmed the four combinations, selected by the British para-dressage selectors, who will represent Great Britain out at this year’s World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina (USA), 11-23 September 2018.
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
Para-Dressage Performance Manager, Sarah Armstrong comments; “The strength and depth in the combinations available for WEG 2018 gave our selectors a strong base to select from. 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 to compete at their first World Equestrian Games.
“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; I know that the four selected athletes will be best prepared to deliver personal bests in an increasingly competitive environment.”
British Dressage Chief Executive, Jason Brautigam added; “It’s great to see Erin cement her place in the team after her debut in Gothenburg last year, as well as welcome both Lee and Natasha back with their new rides. Their experience, along with Sophie’s leadership and cool head, makes this quartet a very exciting prospect and we wish them all the very best of luck in Tryon.”
Natasha Baker: “I’m so, so proud of everything we’ve achieved this year. Massive thanks to Mount St John, and to mum and Lisa 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 to Emma and massively excited for WEG.
“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. 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.”
Erin Orford: “It’s a huge honour to get the call up, I’m incredibly proud of the progress that Dior has made this year and although it’s what we’ve been working towards it’s still a huge relief and feels a bit surreal to have actually made the team.
“I’m incredibly grateful to Dior’s owner, Annabel, for giving me such a talented horse to ride; to my trainer, Stephen Moore whose support has enabled us to bring out the best in her, as well as my family and sponsors who’ve been a big part of this journey. I’m really excited to make my WEG debut – I hope that I will be able to show her at her best and deliver some strong performances in Tryon.”
Lee Pearson: “It’s really special - it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Having a quiet year last year, and coming back and being selected, I’m just thrilled and honoured. I always thought that she was special; it’s amazing to be on a home-bred horse, and definitely more special, but it does add to the nerves as well.”
Sophie Wells: “I’m really chuffed. To be going on a horse you’ve had since they were young is going to be really special. For Jorge [C Fatal Attraction] to be selected for his first world championships is just fantastic, and it’s going to be my third; it’s less daunting as I was out in Kentucky for the world’s in 2010. I’m so pleased for Charlotte and we can hopefully go and do some good performances. To have William as a reserve as well is just amazing; it’s going to be a busy summer.”
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.