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

Latest Stories

22 minutes ago
The man is seen without his wig, walking on the opposite side of the road (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A brazen thief donned a ‘Rastafarian-style’ dreadlock wig and hat before running up to a woman on a street in north east London, stealing her handbag and leaving her with a broken arm.

Read more
Fancy somewhere different for dinner? [Photo courtesy of Events In The Sky]

This new London restaurant in Canary Wharf perched high in the sky lets diners experience Michelin-starred food from 100ft up.

Read more
11:51
The killer shark lurking among the fish in the Islington shop

An animatronic shark was installed in a fishmongers in Islington to scare the hell out of customers and promote unlikely sequel Sharknado 2.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

But which London?! [Photo courtesy of Basher Eyre]

Yoou might know London like the back of your hand, but how well do you know the other Londons - and London landmarks - across the world?

Read more
The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more
Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more