Wells secures WEG gold number one!
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Nottinghamshire’s Sophie Wells MBE got her world championships off to a golden start as she took the top honours in the Grade V individual test at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, USA.
Drawn first to go in the final class of the day, Sophie, with Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction, produced a stunning test in the afternoon sun, to be rewarded with a score of 75.429%, which could not be beaten.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet to be honest,” a beaming Sophie said after the gold was confirmed, “sitting there and watching [the final riders] was awful, but it’s amazing I’m so chuffed.
“You have different challenges through every part of your career, and every horse means something slightly different, I missed out in Normandy [WEG 2014] and you feel like you wait a long time to get the chance to do it again, I’m just so proud of him, it’s been a long journey like it has been for everyone else, and it just means a lot.
“We’re going to build on from today; we’ve had a really great first week of WEG, and I’m just excited to get back in there for my team test and Freestyle on Saturday.”
The medal today is Sophie's fourth gold medal at a World Championships after winning Team Gold in Normandy in 2014 and two individual titles in Kentucky in 2010.
Earlier in the day, Sir Lee Pearson retired his young horse, Styletta from the Grade II individual test when the mare was unsettled. He said; “She [Styletta] seems to be struggling a bit with the humidity here. She’s only nine years old; she’s a spectacularly powerful horse and each day she’s been here she’s been feeling like she’s struggling a bit with the weather.
“I didn’t want to retire; I’m passionate about doing my best in the arena for my country but felt that it was the right thing to do."
Lee has a rest day today when the horse will be checked and ridden ahead of Thursday's team test.
Today we have our two Grade III riders in action - Natasha Baker kicks the class off with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog at 14.30 (BST) and Erin Orford is the final rider of the class with Dior at 17.18 (BST). You can watch live and for free on the FEI Dressage Facebook page.