Baker sets equestrian record and takes second gold

British rider clinches second gold as Puch secures glory for Austria. 03 Sep 2012
Nathan Baker at London 2012

Natasha Baker of Great Britain won gold in the Dressage Individual Freestyle Test, Grade II in the Equestrain at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

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“My horse was like a ballerina. As soon as she heard the music she started to swing.”

Natasha Baker secured her second gold medal of London 2012 and smashed the equestrian record for grade II individual freestyle dressage at Greenwich Park on Monday.

Baker, riding Cabral, gave an outstanding performance, registering a score of 82.800, which eclipsed the previous grade II record (78.944) set at Athens 2004 by Irene Slaettengren.

Austrian Pepo Puch then won gold in grade Ib, denying Britain’s Lee Pearson a chance to equal the country’s record of 11 Paralympic gold medals, held by Tanni-Grey Thompson and Dave Roberts.

Baker later admitted that she had to improvise one section of her routine, before expressing her delight at a second gold medal.

“I never ever imagined that in my first Games in London I would come home with two gold medals,” Baker said.

“I always said when I was 10 years old I wanted to go to a Paralympic Games and come home with a gold, but I never imagined it would be my first Games at a home Games, so it’s incredible."

Germany took silver with Britta Napel riding the mare Aquilina 3 (77.400), finishing five percentage points behind Baker. Her teammate Angelika Trabert riding Ariva-Avanti, claimed bronze with 76.150.

In the afternoon grade Ib test, Puch, riding his mare Fine Feeling, scored 79.150, five percentage points ahead of Finland's partially sighted rider Katja Karjalainen and Rosie on 74.250.

“The competition was very tight in this group,” Pearson said.

“You can hope for a medal, but you can't expect a medal. I'm so happy.

“My horse was like a ballerina. As soon as she heard the music she started to swing.”

Home favourite Pearson finished third overall on 74.200. The three-time triple gold medalist at Beijing, Athens, and Sydney tasted his first Paralympic defeat on Saturday - silver in the individual championship test.

His bronze on Monday completes the London 2012 set once he receives his team gold that will be presented on Tuesday 4 September.