Sir Lee Pearson, the world’s most decorated equestrian Paralympian, does it again…
In an emotion packed first day of competition, Sir Lee Pearson (GBR) collected his 12th Paralympic gold medal at his sixth Paralympic appearance since 2000 at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park, winning the Grade II Individual Test.
Lee rode his homebred Breezer to the title with a score of 76.265% to finish ahead of Pepo Puch (AUT), who rode Sailor's Blue to score 73.441%. These two highly experienced athletes are used to tussling for the top spot, with Pepo claiming Individual gold in Rio ahead of Pearson and vice versa for the Freestyle medals.
Georgia Wilson (GBR) picked up a fairy tale of a bronze medal on Sakura, with 72.765%. She was the team’s reserve rider and was called to the Paralympic Games just two weeks ago, when her teammate Sophie Christiansen was forced to withdraw due to a veterinary issue with her horse.
Speaking after his ride, Lee said “I am very, very emotional. I cried on the second X on hold in the arena. It’s been such a long journey. Breezer is a horse who I’ve had since he was born. I am also a Dad myself now, and that has also made me more emotional.
“I didn’t think having a homebred horse would give this a little extra meaning but it has. I saw him at hours old in a field and to complete that test, which at my last test event I did not complete, that added to the emotion.”
In interviews, both Paralympians highlighted the absolute trust between horse and rider that enables them to compete together. For Georgia just attaining a quiet, relaxed test on her horse's first international trip would have been a massive success, to end up on the podium was indeed a fairytale ending.