The first British Team to compete at a World Para Reining Championship took the Silver medal position on the podium at the competition hosted by the Royal Dutch Equestrian Centre in Ermelo, Holland.
The team riders consisting of Sir Lee Pearson, Fiona Durston and Ricky Balshaw posted solid scores to only be beaten by the more experienced riders who flew in from Canada. First out, Balshaw, riding stallion Yelena My Way banked a good safe score, “It felt really good to be back in the saddle and with a flag on my chest. I am really looking forward to Saturday”, Balshaw said after his run.. Durston, on Smart Like Valentino who rode a fluid and graceful test to post not only the high score of the day but also secured a good place for the team in the rankings. Pearson on Shiners Lenas Oak brought the result home with an accurate and precise ride to seal the Team silver. Commenting on her run Durston said ~ With Ricky having already posted a score I was in a great position to go for It a little more and Tino knew exactly what to do. I think we both really enjoyed it. ~
Pearson commented after the event” Showing a wonderful, l well behaved horse in a different discipline with a very enthusiast audience It is credit to the temperament and training on these horses I think this is a very exciting time for another Para Equestrian discipline
Chef D’Equipe Francesca Sternberg said ~ I am really delighted. These riders have crossed over from the Dressage arena to compete in a new sport and in a very short period of time achieved an incredible amount. The medal is the icing on the cake and well deserved. They have all been an inspiration in the Dressage world and now they have become the same in the Reining arena, I am very proud of them”.
All riders advanced to the individual finals where Peason placed 5th, Durston 6th and Balshaw 7th in a large and tough filed of competitors. The whole team would like to thank the owners of the horses , Sterling Quarter Horses and Lester Wilson, and the sponsors that made this all possible. All three riders advanced to the individual finals where they placed fifth, sixth and seventh. Next competition will be the Garden Of England International Show in August.
Riding horses they hardly knew, in a new discipline in front of a huge crowd, the riders demonstrated their exceptional skills producing fluent and accurate patterns. On day one Fiona Durston, a 3* Dressage rider from Kent, who is registered blind, took the top place ahead of former Team GBR Dressage member and individual Paralympic Silver medalist Ricky Balshaw.
Here is a link to World Para Reining
site should you want to read more