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Paralympics inspire weekly’s horse show campaign

A weekly newspaper has launched a campaign for a new prize for disabled riders following the success of the UK’s equestrian team at the Paralympics.

The Royal Borough Observer, based in Windsor, wants to see the inclusion of a para-equestrian competition in next year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show.

It follows the success of Berkshire-based Sophie Christiansen MBE in winning three gold medals at the London Games, which finished at the weekend.

The Observer featured the campaign on its front page last week and its call has already gained the backing of Sophie’s local riding school as well as Windsor’s Mayor.

Editor Tim Cole said: “We have all been inspired by what Sophie Christiansen and the Paralympians have achieved. Our readers, across all our titles, have responded brilliantly and after talking to her riding school it quickly became apparent there was a shortage of high profile competitions for disabled riders.

“We’re very lucky to have such a prestigious equestrian event held on our patch, in the grounds of Windsor Castle, and with Sophie being a local girl what better place to start the Para-equestrian legacy!”

Reporter Richard Cutcher added:  “The organisers of this year’s horse show managed to respond to the threat of events being cancelled because of torrential rain and they put all hands to the pump in a situation which unfolded during the show to keep it going.

“I’m sure with nine months warning they will be able to find space in the schedule to fit in classes for disabled riders.”

Colin Rayner, Mayor of the Royal Borough and a member of the show’s organising committee, told The Observer he will write to managing director, Simon Brooks-Ward, suggesting that a Para-equestrian competition is added.

He said: “It is a brilliant idea to take this momentum forward and it would be great if 2013 was the first year our Para-dressage medallists and other disabled riders are able to take part.”


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  • September 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

    We are so proud to have followed Sophie’s career for many years. She’s a fantastic role model, full of enthusiasm and lovely to meet. The Observer already supports the Royal Windsor Horse Show’s Riding For The Disabled Fancy Dress competition each year, which is sponsored by Windsor Lions so this is a logical next step.

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  • September 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    As lead member for Windsor I am delighted to support the call for para-equestrian events at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. With Sophie Christiansen MBE living in the borough we have a real champion of dressage. Such events would be a lasting legacy of the London Olympics and Para Olympics in our town of which we could all be very proud.

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  • September 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Yes, you ARE very lucky to work such a posh patch.

    If we had a horse riding contest (or whatever they’re called) round here the angry villagers would slay all the nags for fear they be dragons

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