British riders headline Hartpury

New horses for Rio 2016 equestrian champions 02 Jul 2018
a female Para equestrian rider on a horse

Natasha Baker will debut new horse Diva

ⒸNatasha Baker
By Rob Howell | For the IPC

Paralympic champions Natasha Baker and Sophie Christiansen are among the home stars hoping to secure national teams spots for September’s World Championships when they compete at the British Festival of Dressage from Wednesday (4 July).

The Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medallists will do so on new rides this year.

Grade I’s Christiansen will ride Amazing Romance (known as Harry, after Prince Harry), while grade III rider Baker will be on Mount St John Diva Dannebrog (known as Diva).

“Hartpury is one of my favourite competitions and I can’t believe it has come around again so quickly,” said Baker. “I’m really looking forward to showing Diva there. She is a great horse.

“So far this year we have had a great time and bonded really well. We had wins at Wellington (Great Britain) and at the Quadrille competition in Belgium. If I could write down my ideal scenario for 2018, what we are doing now would be it.”

Fellow 2016 Paralympic champion teammates Lee Pearson (grade II) and Sophie Wells (grade V) will also be in action, as will defending British European champions Julie Payne (grade I) and Suzanna Hext (grade II).

Athletes from Austria, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland and the US Virgin Islands are also among the 40-athlete field competing in Hartpury.

The British Festival of Dressage runs until 8 July.

The 2018 Para Equestrian World Championships – part of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Equestrian Games – take place from 18-22 September in Tyron, North Carolina, USA.