New Years Honours: MBE caps ‘amazing year’ for London dressage rider

03:15 29 December 2012

Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker (pictured with rowing gold medallist Helen Glover on the left) were appointed an OBE and MBE respectively. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker (pictured with rowing gold medallist Helen Glover on the left) were appointed an OBE and MBE respectively. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Paralympic double gold medallist Natasha Baker cried when she learned she had been nominated in the 2013 New Years Honours list.

But they were tears of joy for the para-equestrian rider from Uxbridge, who was made an MBE for her services to the sport following a successful London 2012.

Natasha, 22, who contracted the transverse myelitis neurological disorder when she was a baby, traces her connection to the sport back to 2000 when she watched paralympic dressage at the Sydney Games.

She said: “It’s such an massive honour, it really has topped off an amazing year.

“My dream was formed in 2000 and its been a long 12 years but well worth it now I have got these two (gold medals) hanging around my neck.”

The former Brunel University student thanked all those who watched her achieve three personal bests and break two Paralympic records on the way to scooping her golds in Greenwich.

Despite dressage being widely seen as elitist in many quarters, Natasha believes the success of Team GB riders will open the sport to a bigger audience.

She said: “Nobody really knew what dressage was before 2012 but now we are known as the dancing horses, so it’s great to put dressage on the map and encourage new young athletes to get involved in equestrian sports.”

Fellow rider Sophie Christiansen, 24, was made an OBE, also for her services to para-equestrianism. She won three gold medals at London 2012.

Talking about her reaction to winning the medal, she said: “I got the medal while I was university studying for my Masters degree and I opened the letter in halls.

“I kind of screamed a little bit and all my flatmates came around and said “what’s wrong, what’s wrong” but I couldn’t tell them.

“They did manage to work it out but I didn’t say anything.

“I’m really honoured to get an OBE this time because this year was such a fantastic year for British sport.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Thursday, August 27, 2015
The kaleidoscope brightened up London's Southbank (Picture by @marmaladestudio)

A giant kaleidoscope has brightened up London’s Southbank this morning on an otherwise dull and dreary day.

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Robert Andrews spent 30 years with the Met (Picture: Edward Smith)

A former Met police officer who arranged to meet a man claiming to be only 14-year-old on the gay social media app Grindr was caught out by a vigilante group calling itself The Paedophile Squad.

Thursday, August 27, 2015
She was playing with her family in Hanworth Park when she was hit by the pellet that could have killed her (Photo: Google StreetView)

The little girl was running from her mother to her grandfather in Hanworth Park when she was struck by the pellet and began bleeding. Police say she could have been killed.

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Mohammed Hossain (picture: Javier Casado)

A rickshaw driver from Plaistow sexually assaulted a young clubber after offering her a free ride home, a court has heard.

Thursday, August 27, 2015
If you recognise this man, please call  police on 101 and give them reference number 174543 (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Shocking CCTV footage has been released of a pub brawl which left a man needing stitches after he was glassed on the head.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more
Free weekly shop? Yes please!

Win £200 to spend at Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets. Asda prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here.

Read more