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Nicola Tustain bags MBE for her services to equestrianism

last updated on June 28, 2010 14:35

Nicola Tustain bags MBE for her services to equestrianism

Paralympian and World Champion Nicola Tustain has been awarded an MBE for her services to disabled sport, in particular for her role as a leading para-equestrian dressage rider.

Nicola (32) from Corwen, Denbighshire has been at the very top of her sport for the last 12 years. During this time the para-equestrian dressage rider has won countless medals for her country, including individual, freestyle and team gold’s from the 2000 and 2004 Paralympic Games.

Along with this paralympic success Nicola has also enjoyed wins at world, European and national championship level, gaining a treble gold at the 1999 and 2003 World Championships (team, individual and freestyle) as well as bringing home three gold’s, one silver and a bronze from the 2005 European Championships and the World Para-equestrian Championships in 2007. Nicola has also taken the British Dressage Para Equestrian National Championship title seven out of the eight times she competed from 1999 to 2008.

Nicola is classified as a grade II rider; she was born with right Hemipligia, a condition which causes the right side of the body to be paralyzed. She also suffers from spasms along the right side of her body, a condition known as Dystonia; her disability means Nicola has to ride in specially altered tack, without stirrups and with one hand.

In April 2009 Nicola retired from International competition, however, the talented sports woman continues to support disabled sport and is still competing locally. Not one to restrict herself to one sport, Nicola is also a keen badminton player participating in both able-bodied and disabled teams, taking the Welsh Badminton Disabled Champion title in 2006. The MBE jumps to the top of a very long list of honors awarded to Nicola, including the British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour in 2000.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to have been awarded an MBE,” said Nicola. “I love what I do, so to have been recognised in this way is fantastic. I am still incredibly shocked and overwhelmed at the idea of being Nicola Tustain MBE!”

Nicola also won the Dressage Rider of the Year title at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) awards in 2003 and was also nominated for the Lareus World Sports Awards in 2004.

The British Honours System is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world, with honours only being awarded twice a year; at New Year and the on the Queen’s official birthday. Nicola joins fellow para-equestrian dressage team members Lee Pearson MBE OBE, Anne Dunham MBE and Sophie Christiansen MBE as those who have been presented this esteemed honour by the queen.