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Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 10:27 UK

Medal success for GB Para Dressage riders

Jo Pitt, Lee Pearson, Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham
GB's Pitt, Pearson, Christiansen and Dunham celebrate team gold

Great Britain's Para dressage riders have won seven medals at the halfway stage of the World Equestrian Games.

There were individual golds for Lee Pearson and Sophie Christiansen and they combined with Anne Dunham and Jo Pitt for team gold in Kentucky.

Rising star Sophie Wells also collected her first world title with Dunham and Ricky Balshaw both winning silvers in their classes.

Emma Sheardown completed the haul with bronze ahead of the freestyle events.

Nine-time Paralympic gold medallist Pearson finished with a total of 76.435% in his Grade Ib test to finish well clear of Balshaw (72.870%) and take yet another major title on his horse Gentleman.

"I have to admit to being really nervous and had to tell myself to breathe," admitted Pearson afterwards. "There's a huge expectation on me but I rode my heart out."

Christiansen led a British clean sweep in the Grade Ia class for the most disabled riders, finishing ahead of Dunham and Sheardown.

Riding Rivaldo of Berkeley, the 22-year-old from Berkshire rode superbly to score 76.100%.

"I'm so happy with my horse, he really looked after me and this is my highest ever score," Christiansen stated. "I can't wait for my freestyle as it's my favourite and I'm using music inspired by Sir Paul McCartney as I met him earlier this year."

Dunham scored 73.200% while Sheardown, making her debut at world level, held her nerve on Purdy's Dream to score 71.900%.

Wells started the medal rush on Wednesday with victory in the Grade IV class for the least disabled riders.

The 20-year-old from Newark, who was part of the able-bodied British Young Rider team at the European Championships earlier this summer scored 71.677% on Pinocchio to win by just over 1.5%.

"I was quite pleased with my test. He was a little difficult to warm up but I thought the trot work was actually quite good," Wells reflected.

"He came against me a little bit but softened. When we rode in here on Monday, he was quite distracted by the open corners but today he was much better."

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see also
GB riders dominate at Europeans
24 Aug 09 |  Disability Sport
Emotional Pearson wins more gold
11 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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