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Para Dressage squad 2023

Gabriella Blake

  • Grade: 1
  • Age: 30
  • Based in: Wolverhampton, West Midlands
  • World ranking: 50

Gabby was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but moved to West Sussex when she was six – this is where she got her first pony, Silver. In 2012, after a short spell back in South Africa, Gabby moved to the Cotswolds and got her second pony, Geronimo, who helped to spark her love for dressage and copmeting, even though Geronimo was originally trained for reining and had no dressage background. It was during this time that she competed in her first ever RDA dressage competition. In 2017, Gabby moved again, this time to Nottinghamshire. Here she started her para journey and competed at the RDA National Championships. 

In July 2018, Gabby partnered with Strong Beau, and her para dressage career really took off. The two have been familiar faces on the circuit since their international debut at Bishop Burton CPEDI in 2019, and have collected plenty of podium placings along the way. 

They head to Riesenbeck on the back of trips to Waregem (BEL) and Kronenberg (NED), and wins at Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre and the Wellington Riding Festival of Para Dressage. 

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Strong Beau

  • Known as: Beau
  • Owner: Gabriella Blake
  • Colour: Grey
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Age: 14
  • Height: 15hh
  • Sire: Spinway Blackthorn
  • Breeder: Ms S. Amos GBR

A Connemara x Irish Sports Horse, Beau was previously an eventer but came to Gabby in 2018 after stepping down to become a pleasure ride. He has quite a quirky personality and can be cheeky at times, but Gabby says that it’s hard to stay cross at him for long because he always looks after her when she's riding him – he's her 'unicorn'.

Personal bests

Individual (Grand Prix A) Team (Grand Prix B) Freestyle
74.679% 74.429% 76.38%
Bishop Burton CPEDI3* (2021) Bishop Burton CPEDI3* (2021) Wellington Riding Festival of Para Dressage (2023)

Charlotte Cundall

  • Grade: 5
  • Age: 38
  • Based in: Malton, North Yorkshire
  • World ranking: 57

Charlotte grew up in a horsey family and made her way through the Pony Club ranks. Her first love was eventing, and she had posters of Mary King and Pippa Funnell on the walls of her childhood bedroom – her dream was to ride round Badminton and Burghley like her heroes. At her mum's insistence, she went to university in Newcastle rather than diving straight into an equestrian career, and spent those years to-ing and fro-ing so she could still ride and compete. Just days after handing in her final dissertation, she broke her back in a riding accident. After surgery and a long period of rehabilitation, she returned to riding and progressed up to what is now four-star level, alongside some point-to-point jockeying. 

Three years after the first accident, Charlotte broke her back again in another fall – despite wearing a body protector. On her surgeon's advice, she stopped riding and got an office job, but found that being away from horses was taking its toll on her mental health. After four years, she could not longer stay away and found her way back into the saddle – before long, the competitive streak reemerged and she discovered para dressage. Her first international para dressage competition came in 2014, and two years later she was competing in the Nations Cup with KBIS Starchaser – an ex-eventer who had previously contested the FEI Eventing Nations Cup with Izzy Taylor.

Charlotte was the non-travelling reserve for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with her other horse, LJT Simply Red, and was on the nominated entry list for the FEI Para Dressage World Championship in Herning last year. She still works as an accountant alongside her para dressage career and is trained by Ian Woodhead who's helped her since her eventing days. 

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FJ Veyron

  • Known as: Duke
  • Owner: The Veyron Partnership
  • Colour: Chestnut
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Age: 13
  • Height: 17.2hh
  • Sire: Vivaldi
  • Breeder: Active Equestrian GBR

Duke came to Charlotte in the summer of 2020 through, Paul Hayler, who had previously competed him alongside his daughter Bobby. Just a few months later, they competed at their first international at Keysoe, where they finished second in all three tests. 

Since then, they've been regular faces on the international circuit, both on home soil and on the continent, securing numerous podium placings along the way. This year's international outings have included a win in the Grand Prix A at Addington in March and again in the Grand Prix B at Hartpury in July, plus two overseas trips to Waregem (BEL) and Kronenberg (NED). 

Personal bests

Individual (Grand Prix A) Team (Grand Prix B) Freestyle
72.952% 71.842% 76.095%
Keysoe CPEDI3* (2020) Addington CPEDI3* (2023) Keysoe CPEDI3* (2022)

Sophie Wells

  • Grade: 5
  • Age: 33
  • Based in: Harby, Lincolnshire
  • World ranking: 5

Sophie started riding at the age of eight at her local riding school and took up able-bodied dressage at the age of twelve. In 2008, she became the first para dressage rider to win a non-disabled international competition, after she finished first in the Junior international class at the Hickstead Under-21 international. She was the first para dressage rider to compete on both an able-bodied Junior team and the para dressage team in the same year (2010), competing on the dressage Young Rider European team, as well as being selected as part of the World Equestrian Games para dressage squad.

Sophie was selected for her first Paralympic Games in London 2012, where she won team gold along with silvers in the individual and freestyle competitions. She was also picked for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, where she took individual gold and freestyle silver, and helped the team defend their team gold. She has been on the British team at every championship since 2009, picking up an impressive 33 medals along the way. 

Sophie was selected for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with World and European medallist C Fatal Attraction, but a late fitness concern for 'Jorge' saw inexperienced Don Cara M step up to take his place. The pair pulled out all the stops to help the British team retain their Paralympic title, and also took individual silver. 

In addition to her para dressage career, Sophie competes in able-bodied dressage and has a busy coaching schedule. 

Sophie and Don Cara M travelled to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic Games, where they succeeded in helping the team gain a gold medal, plus an individual silver medal. The pair joined the squad again in Herning for the FEI Para Dressage Word Championships in 2022, missing out on a team medal but managing to qualify for Paris 2024. 

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LJT Egebjerggards Samoa

  • Known as: Diana
  • Owner: The Lady Joseph Trust
  • Colour: Black
  • Sex: Mare
  • Age: 7
  • Height: 16.1hh
  • Bloodlines: St Schrufo x Gribaldi
  • Breeder: Anders Green Hansen DEN

Diana is Sophie's newest talent. They started their competitive career together in April 2021, contesting Novice and Young Horse classes before trying para dressage in September 2022. Since then, they've had outings for both dressage and para dressage, although para dressage has been the focus for 2023 in the build-up towards the European Championships and with an eye on Paris 2024 next year. 

To give Diana exposure to big atmospheres, Sophie took her to the London International Horse Show in December to take part in the para dressage masterclass, where the black mare caught the eye of the crowds. 

Diana has contested just four international competitions in her career, starting at Keysoe in October last year. In 2023, she went to Hickstead in May for the debut para dressage classes at the All England Dressage Festival, then headed overseas to Kronenberg (NED) for the Peelenberg CPEDI3*. Her final international run in the build-up to Riesenbeck was the CPEDI3* at Hartpury, where she and Sophie won the freestyle. 

Personal bests

Individual (Grand Prix A) Team (Grand Prix B) Freestyle
74.27% 75.26% 74.83%
Wellington Festival of Para Dressage (2023 Hickstead Para International (2023) Hartpury CPEDI3* (2023)

Georgia Wilson

  • Grade: 2
  • Age: 28
  • Based in: Abergele, North Wales
  • World ranking: 17

Georgia started riding when she was two years old after her physio suggested that it would help with her balance. Her first pony was a Shetland called Diana, who was followed by a pony called Poppy – he was handed down to Georgia’s sisters when she'd outgrown him. Georgia joined the Pony Club and the RDA at Clwyd SRC, attending her first RDA nationals on Aaron, a palomino pony. It was here that she got the bug for dressage, and she also competed with BYRDs Wales team. 

Georgia's first senior call-up was for the FEI European Championship in Rotterdam in 2019, where she rode Midnight. She took individual silver and helped the British team to another silver, before storming to gold in the freestyle ahead the reigning Paralympic champion, Pepo Puch of Austria. Initially selected as a reserve for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with new ride Sakura, the late withdrawal of Sophie Christiansen saw Georgia earn herself a seat on the plane to her first Games. She proved herself worthy of the occasion by taking double bronze, bested only by fellow Brit Sir Lee Pearson and multi-Paralympic medallist Pepo Puch.

Following the Games, Georgia and Sakura continued to strengthen their partnership and headed to Herning for their first World Championship in 2022 on the back of two new personal bests from Wellington Festival of Para Dressage in June and Hartpury CPEDI3* in July. They came home from Herning with a bronze in the freestyle. 

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  • Known as: Suki
  • Owners: Geoff, Julie and Georgia Wilson
  • Colour: Chestnut
  • Sex: Mare
  • Age: 9
  • Height: 16hh
  • Bloodlines: Supertramp x Woodlander Rockstar
  • Breeder: Geri Eilberg GBR

Dressage-bred Suki and Georgia had only been a partnership for seven months before theiy received a last-minute call-up for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Suki was one of the youngest and least experienced horses in the field, but showed her calibre by helping Georgia to two bronze medals. While in Tokyo, Georgia described Suki as 'the kindest mare ever – I could take her anywhere, she could probably come into the hotel and sleep next to me'.  

Their partnership continued to grow, and they were soon selected for the FEI Para Dressage World Championship in Herning, where they took bronze in the freestyle.

This season, Georgia and Suki haven't finished off the podium at any of their seven competitions, and picked up wins at the All England Dressage Festival at Hickstead and the Wellington Riding Festival of Para Dressage.

Personal bests

Individual (Grand Prix A) Team (Grand Prix B) Freestyle
73.647% 74.410% 78.39%
Hartpury CPEDI3* (2022)

Wellington Festival of Para Dressage (2022)

Hartpury CPEDI3* (2023)