September 16.2016

Baker 16

Natasha Baker successfully defended her individual grade II title from London, when she rode Cabral into the gold medal spot again in Rio.

Natasha — the only British rider from London 2012 to have been selected again on the same horse finish ahead of Dutch riders Demi Vermeulen and Rixt van der Horst, who took silver and bronze respectively.

The Londoner, who has virtually no movement in her lower half after contracting transverse myelitis as a baby, was the best rider on all five of the jury's scorecards, scoring 73.400% overall.

After a difficult team test in which a large spook before entering the arena left 'JP' tense and nervy during the first half of the routine, Natasha was completely overcome at how well the 15-year-old gelding coped with the atmosphere today.

"I said to him as we were trotting round in the 10 minute box, 'just trust me, JP', and he did. He worked with me and was so relaxed and the whole thing felt lovely," said the 26-year-old.

"Winning gold is a dream come true but this is his last championship, so I really just wanted to come here and show the world what he can do and I'm so grateful that he has let me do that today. I cried coming out of the arena and there have been endless tears since."

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