Paralympics: Equestrian – Total medal tally: 11

5 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze

Information sourced from the British Equestrian Federation

Britain surpassed its total medal tally record of 10 set at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics today. Competing in the freestyle, Sophie Christiansen became Britain’s first athlete to secure three gold medals at these Games, while Deb Criddle and Sophie Wells earned another silver each.

Performance Director Will Connell said: “At Beijing, we won 10 medals with seven riders. Here we’ve won 11 medals with five riders and exceeded our target. This is the first time anyone has won medals in all five grades in the individual and freestyle.”

Grade IV Freestyle

Despite Sophie Wells producing another personal best of 81.15% in the freestyle, it was not enough for gold and she had to settle for her second silver of the Games.
The medal positions remained the exact same as in the individual test with the 38-year-old Belgian professional rider and trainer Michele George and Rainman also producing a personal best of 82.1% and setting a Paralympic record.

Michele had to work hard to contain the 10-year-old gelding by Rubicell, a gift from her husband as a three-year-old, as the atmosphere got to him.

“He was a little bit hot and tense today. I could feel his heart beating, so it was not as easy as it was two days ago. The freestyle is not our favourite,” said Michele before declaring Greenwich Park “the best venue ever”.

An exhausted and slightly disappointed Sophie said: “I had to take some risks to have the chance of beating Michele today. She’s been on good form at this competition. Some of the risks paid off, some maybe didn’t. I had a small mistake in the tempi changes down the centre line that affected the last halt.

“I don’t think I could have done any more preparation wise. I’m absolutely thrilled with my horse. He coped like a star in this atmosphere. It’s been an absolute dream to compete in this competition and represent the country. I don’t know how I will be able to top this.”

Bronze went to Adelinde Cornelissen’s pupil, Holland’s Frank Hosmar and the seven-year-old Dutch-bred gelding Alphaville, by Sandreo.
He said: “It was only Alphaville’s third competition this season and his first time competing in the freestyle, so he did well.”

Team manager David Hunter said: “The atmosphere here has been a huge bonus. There has been great feeling. The spectators have been so caring, some knowledgeable, some not, but so enthused. It is the biggest audience (11,000) any para-equestrian competitor of any nation has ever ridden in front of.”

It is the first time many have experienced a feature unique to the sport dubbed “butterfly waving”. This is when the audience are asked not to clap until horse and handler are reunited after the test, particularly in Grade Ia, and show their appreciation by waving, either hands or flags.

The silence is incredibly powerful and moving as David explains: “It is so special and poignant.”

Posted on September 5, 2012, in Asmar Equestrian Clothing Range, Sophie Wells and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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