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International Competition for Kiwi Paralympians

International Competition for Kiwi Paralympians

New Zealand’s equestrian paralympians will this weekend have their last shake-down before London.

Rachel Stock and Anthea Gunner will compete against some of the best combinations from the UK and Canada at the Championship Para Equestrian Dressage International at Bishop Burton in East Yorkshire.

New Zealand paralympic equestrian team manager Warrick Allan says it is an all-important event.

“It will give us a good gauge on how our riders are placed ahead of the games,” he says. “It’s a very important part of the girls build-up and we will be aiming for good solid performance to give them that confidence going into the Paralympics.”

Stock and Bates Rimini Park Emmerich will be looking to build on their top result of last weekend which saw them win an unaffiliated elementary class prior to the start of the British Dressage Regional Championships with 71.76% - more than two percent ahead of their nearest rivals.

“Winning that class has given me a real boost. I feel all that hard work we have been putting in starting to pay off,” she said.

“But this weekend we will be looking for more, and with some tough competition on offer, it is the ideal lead into London.”

Gunner says her horse Incognito Huntingdale has been working well.

“He’s settled and happy and we’re both looking forward to getting out in competition mode again. Everything going to plan, we should get some good marks and lots of confidence for London!”

As well as riding, Gunner has been spending extra time in the gym to strengthen her core muscles and says it’s been helping her riding a lot.

The weekend’s three day event is being used by many nations as a warm-up for the Paralympics, and has attracted more than 30 combinations from Australia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and the UK.

It is the first time New Zealand has had an equestrian representative at the Paralympics since Jayne Craike at Athens in 2004.

The 2012 Paralympics is the biggest ever, featuring 4200 athletes from 160 countries competing in 20 sports. The Kiwi riders will be up against 78 top combinations from all over the globe. The Paralympics run from August 30 through to September 4.


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