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 from SNAP.PA

Can the Earth even cope with 12 billion people by 2100?

Read more

Holly Willoughby had a tearful farewell as she bowed out of ITV’s This Morning to head off on leave awaiting the birth of her third child.

Read more

The Royal and Ancient will finally be allowing female members.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

(Photo by Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

If there’s one thing that can change Londoners from nice, normal people into superhumans capable of extreme levels of rage and passive aggression, it’s the descent below-ground.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more