Para dressage stars compete in para reining competition

Sir Lee Pearson had a great weekend at the event Pic: LRG Photography

Sir Lee Pearson had a great weekend at the event Pic: LRG Photography

Para riders competed in the first ever para reining competition in the UK last weekend.

The event took place over two days, with riders only given a couple of days to practice the sport. 

On day one Fiona Durston, a 3* Dressage rider from Kent, who is registered blind, took the top place ahead of former Team GBR Dressage member and individual Paralympic Silver medalist Ricky Balshaw.

Sir Lee Pearson, 11-time Paralympic Gold medalist came in third, swapping 17hh Olympic Champion Zion to a 15hh quarter horse mare.  

The second day of competition called for the riders to post high enough scores to qualify for the Para Reining World Championships in Holland this July. 

Pearson set the bar, pulling an exceptional run out of the bag on a new horse, Smart Like Valentino, with Bashaw coming in second, only ½ point behind.

Durston banked a safe run on Big Step Moonlight, ensuring her qualification for Holland.  

Balshaw said, “I feel privileged and honored to have been part of the first ever Para Reining Competition in the UK.  I am very excited to be qualified for the World Para Reining in Holland and can’t wait to compete in another World Championship in a new sport”.

A delighted Fiona said “I've had a whirlwind week, a crash course in a new sport and I have loved every second of it! I could never have imagined winning on the first day, and am really excited to be trying to qualify for Holland. I can’t wait to see what the future might bring!"

Pearson said: “What a wonderful introduction to the Para Reining! Great atmosphere, great competition, and most of all great horses.”

Organiser Francesca Sternberg was completely delighted at the success of the event and said: “These riders have showcased their exceptional talents in an outstanding demonstration that proves Reining and horses can open doors for so many people with disabilities.

"I look forward to seeing the competition at the Para World Reining event in five weeks and feel confident that our riders will be very competitive and as always a huge credit to Great Britain."

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