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Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 13:41 UK

GB riders dominate at Europeans

Sophie Wells on Pinocchio. Pic: hesteguiden.com
Sophie Wells enjoyed a successful championship with three gold medals

Great Britain finished with seven golds to top the standings at the European Para-Dressage Championships in Norway.

Leading the way with three golds apiece were Britain's most successful Paralympic rider Lee Pearson and newcomer Sophie Wells.

Both were part of the winning team along with Sophie Christiansen and Simon Laurens.

Christiansen and Emma Sheardown also claimed an individual gold and silver apiece with two bronzes for Laurens.

Wells, who narrowly missed out on a place at last year's Beijing Paralympics, also won the prize for having the highest total score over the three days of the competition.

The 19-year-old from Newark in Nottinghamshire was born with a condition which means she is missing some of her fingers and has limited movement in her hands and feet.

But she dominated her Grade IV class for least disabled riders on her horse Pinocchio, winning the championship and freestyle categories.

Pearson, who has nine Paralympic golds to his name, was once again dominant in the Grade Ib category.

"I wasn't so pleased with my horse Gentleman on the first day when I thought the judges were very kind," he said.

"In Saturday's championship tests they judged him a bit low but in the freestyle everything came together."

Christiansen and Sheardown shared the honours in the Grade Ia class for the sport's most disabled competitors.

Christiansen got the better of her compatriot in the championship event, scoring 74.200% to Sheardown's 71.100% but Sheardown edged out her rival in the freestyle event with 75.500% while Christiansen managed 75.222%.

"We've had an extremely successful and great competition," said team manager David Hunter.

"We have never won as many medals at a major international championship before and it is really rewarding to see our newcomers like Sophie Wells and Emma Sheardown get onto the podium."



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see also
Emotional Pearson wins more gold
11 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
GB collect three equestrian golds
09 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
Paralympics - GB's roll of honour
22 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Disability Sport
Disability Sport on the BBC
02 Nov 09 |  Disability Sport


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