Paralympians

How incredible are our Paralympic athletes and their horses?! Their resilience, courage and skill is totally inspiring, as are their stories! Find out about the stars including multi-gold medallists Lee Pearson, Sophie Christiansen, Sophie Wells and Simon Laurens. Horse Hero was lucky enough to be a fly-on-the-wall at squad training! You can also read Sophie Well’s blog on Horse Hero, which has tracked her astonishing story through most of the international Championships in the last few years and the challenges she has faced. Plus Sophie Christiansen’s Guest Feature is a ‘must read’!

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The mighty Lee Pearson, Paralympics hero! The mighty Lee Pearson, Paralympics hero
Lee is completely awesome. Ranked number one in the world, he has won 21 gold medals at Championships since the Sydney Olympics and has been honoured many times including an MBE. Lee tells Fiona Price in '09 about his philosophy on producing horses, his main challenge and why he's so effective in the saddle. Lee has produced a horse to Grand Prix and won in Prix St Georges at the National Champs', the only para rider to have ever done this. We find out how Lee prepares mentally at big events and why his current star Gentleman is a real 'girl'. Lee tells us about his new horse Zeon, his penchant for fast cars and his recent engagement!

Paralympics superstar Sophie Christiansen, at Squad Training Paralympics superstar Sophie Christiansen, at Squad Training
Sophie Christiansen is an amazing athlete. Cerebral Palsy makes it difficult for her to control her muscles and it affects her speech but she is fiercely competitive. Before riding, Sophie competed in wheelchair half marathons. As a member of the GB Para squad, she's been a prolific medal winner at two Olympics and numerous Championships. Sophie is studying maths at university so she "can get a decent job" she tells Fiona Price. In 2009 (age 21) Sophie was awarded an MBE. We watch Sophie's test and feedback, and find out about the challenges of competing in walk. Sophie entertains Fiona and Lambrusco in her interview afterwards.

European Paralympics Champion, Sophie Wells & Noki European Paralympics Champion, Sophie Wells & Noki
Horse Hero meet Sophie at Para Squad training before the European Champs' '09. We observe her warm up with trainer Angela, and watch Sophie ride a medium test in front of an international para judge, who offers feedback afterwards. Sophie talks to Fiona Price about her extraordinary year so far, the challenges of riding the enormous Noki and why she competes in able-bodied dressage where she is successful up to Prix St Georges, and the first para rider to be on an able-bodied young rider squad. Sophie also talks about her aspirations for the European Champs'. She goes on to excel herself a few weeks later, taking triple gold!

Paralympics gold medallist Simon Laurens, at squad training Paralympics gold medallist Simon Laurens, at squad training
Simon won double gold medals at the World Champs '07 and team gold at the Olympics '08 with Ocean Diamond (Derek). Derek is his main man, he says, and riding him is like putting on a comfortable pair of Jimmy Choo's! Fiona Price meets Simon at squad training before the European Champs' '09, where he and Derek won a further team gold and two individual bronze medals. Simon started as an able bodied show-jumper. He became interested in dressage when working for Gemma Green. He talks about dealing with MS and falling victim to the financial slump! We watch Simon warm up, do his test and listen to the feedback.

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