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Gold and Silver for Lincoln Paralympian Sophie Wells

— Update on September 4 @ 11.30am: Sophie Wells also won a silver in the Dressage Grade IV Freestyle on her horse, Pinocchio. Freestyle dressage is a number of moves set in time to music, all chosen by the rider.

Riders will be filmed riding their horse around a school, and the footage will the be sent off to composers. Composers then choose or write music which matches the horse’s rhythm, regardless of the gait. Points are rewarded and deducted for how well the music matches the horse’s movement, in addition to picking up points for style.

Wells was beaten to the top spot only by just over a point by Belgium’s Michele George, riding Rainman.

— Original story: A Paralympic contender from Lincoln has won a gold and silver medal in the dressage on Sunday, September 2.

Sophie Wells won the silver in the Grade IV dressage test on her horse, Pinocchio. Dressage is a discipline designed to test control and unity between horse and rider.

Sophie Wells managed to secure a score of 76.323%, which was just short of the winning score of 77.065% by Belgium’s rider Michele George, due to a small mistake halfway through the test.

She said: “If I hadn’t had the mistake it might have been a different story,” she said.

“I knew I would have to do the best test I had ever done, but the Paralympics is when everyone is at their best.

“You can’t afford a mistake, but unfortunately I had one and I take complete responsibility for that.

“The other bits in the test I was really pleased with. I tried to nail every movement, but we couldn’t nail one of them and that was what lost it for us.

“Maybe the fact he (Pinocchio) is so big and powerful counted against me today. A simple change for us is not just stopping, I really have to drive him into it. It was the tiniest miscommunication.

“But the horse has brought me a long way and I am pleased with him. These things happen.”

However, in the team dressage which included Wells, Great Britain went on to win gold.

Sophie (22) was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, which affects her feet, ankles and hands, resulting in the loss of a few of her fingers.

Born in Lincoln, she studies Sports Development at the University of Lincoln, however she postponed the course in order to compete in the Paralympics.

She was chosen to compete in the Paralympic dressage team after a successful performance at the Hartpury Final Selection Trials.

She is an avid rider with a number of championships already behind her, on her usual horses Pinocchio and Valerius.

She was a reserve at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, and won gold in both the team and individual dressage at the 2011, 2010 and 2009 European Championships.

She has also successfully competed in non-Paralympic competitions.

Sophie will be competing in the individual freestlye (dressage to the rider’s choice of music, choosing their own moves) on September 4.

Related Reports: The Guardian, The Independent