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Paralympic Sports: Equestrian

Tryon 2018: 10 questions with Natasha Baker

British Paralympic champion likens herself to Beyonce 04 Sep 2018
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female Para equestrian rider Natasha Baker smiles on her horse

Natasha Baker and Mount St John Diva Dannebrog won triple gold at Hartpury 2018

ⒸHartpury Festival of Dressage
By Rob Howell | For the IPC

"I think I also have two personalities like Beyonce who has another side she calls Sacha Fierce. My competitive side, and then my normal smiley personality. I would love to be half as cool as her though, and have her voice!"

Great Britain’s Natasha Baker will hope to lay the ghosts of the last World Equestrian Games (WEG) to rest when she takes on the 2018 edition in Tryon, USA, beginning on 18 September.

Baker went into the 2014 WEG as the leading contender for her grade’s individual titles, but left with one a silver individual medal.

In 2018 she is the current grade III Para dressage individual and freestyle Paralympic Games champion and will want to add individual WEG titles (the only golds missing from her trophy cabinet). She will attempt that on her new horse, DIVA Dannebrog (known as Diva).

Paralympic.org: How did you get into the sport?

It's all mum’s fault! She was horsey and I was brought up with horses from day one. I've always had a passion for horses and I'm crazily competitive. After watching the Sydney Games in 2000, when I was 10, I announced I was going to win a Paralympic gold medal. As they say, the rest is history!

If you had to choose one gold medal which meant the most to you, which would it be?

My first in London 2012. It was a dream come true as I am a London girl. I had all my friends and family there watching me and the support of the home crowd. It still gives me goose bumps, especially as I did it with my special boy JP!

Who do you most admire in the sport?

Lee Pearson (from Great Britain) was the rider that inspired me when I was 10 and watching the Sydney Games. He’s so talented he could make a donkey dance! I Love watching all my friends and teammates but one rider that I am just in awe of must be Stinna (Tange Kaastrup from Denmark).

Do you have any pre-performance superstitions or rituals?

I used to be terrible, as was Mum, with our superstitions but, after our not-so-successful last WEG, I re-evaluated my sports psychology and now I don't have any. I do, however, count magpies and salute them!

What is one thing people would never guess about you?

I have a tomato phobia! Literally hate them! The texture freaks me out! Just YUCK!

Your new horse is called Diva. Does she have diva tendencies?

She demands a mint as soon as she's finished working and she loves looking at herself in any mirror or reflection. She also loves being groomed, especially with her new fancy kit.

Do you have diva tendencies?

I am a bit of a clothes diva and I'll only wear Pikeur breeches. I won't leave the house without makeup and would always check my hair and make-up before I speak to anyone from television, even if I've just finished riding! I enjoy eating in nice places and wearing nice clothes and I also enjoy getting my own way!

What has been the most glamorous thing you have done as a result of your Para dressage profile?

I've been very fortunate to have had some incredible invites. I've been to the National Television Awards a few times, Hello Magazine’s birthday party (where Rod Stewart sang happy birthday) and I've met the Queen at Buckingham Palace! My fave night was the Pride of Britain Awards where I met so many incredibly inspiring people that make a huge difference to the community.

Who are your favourite divas?

I was brought up listening to Whitney Houston so she's a definite favourite, but I also love Adele and Beyonce!

Which celebrity diva would you compare yourself with?

Maybe Beyonce as I have a rather 'round bottom' - the perks of riding without stirrups! She also seems to be a big family person. I think I also have two personalities like Beyonce who has another side she calls Sacha Fierce. My competitive side, and then my normal smiley personality. I would love to be half as cool as her though, and have her voice!

I think Diva would be Angelina Jolie as she's maternal, keeps her private life quiet and is stunning!