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

Central Line drivers will go on strike, disrupting more than one million passengers in London (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

More than one million Londoners will be disrupted after drivers on the Central Line walk out in a strike over working conditions.

Read more
Keepers Jack Sargent and Adam Davies measure Perry, a 6ft llama, and Mocha, a 4 month-old llama (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

From tiny insects to huge jungle beasts all 17,000 animals at ZSL London Zoo had to be herded, lifted or coaxed onto the scales for the annual weigh-in.

Read more
13:56
A life-size statue of Amy Winehouse will be unveiled in Camden next month (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Amy Winehouse’s father Mitch said his daughter will ‘oversee the comings and goings of her home town forever’ after it was announced a life-size statue of the singer will be unveiled in Camden.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more
Can you guess the Tube station just from the outside? (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How well do you know your Tube stations? Can you guess these Underground stops from the pictures taken outside them?

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

You 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