Cool Female Paralympian of the Day: Natasha Baker

It was the moment where Natasha Baker mouthed “this is where I start crying” as the national anthem started to play that caused me to shed a few tears too – the gold medal-winning para-equestrian’s overwhelming delight and pride at topping the podium was infectious and incredibly moving.

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

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Natasha Baker doing a lap of honour after winner her gold medal

The 22-year-old was competing in her first ever Paralympic Games and took the Individual Championship test, Grade II title with an impressive score of 76.857%. Natasha was inspired by the performance of Lee Pearson in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics; when she saw him win three golds she declared to her mother that she was going to do the same. After winning she said, "I've been dreaming about this for 12 years. And now I'm going to have my own golden postbox and stamp!"

And Natasha quickly followed up her first gold medal with a second - in the grade II freestyle class, where she and her horse completed a routine set to music with a score of 82.8%.

As with all equestrians, she has a fantastically close relationship with her horse, Cabral, referring to herself as his ‘mother’ and explaining how they work together despite the fact she cannot control his movements with her legs (a virus damaged her spine when she was a baby): “It is hard particularly when you haven't got any use of your legs whatsoever. You have to overcome that and I have trained all my horses to listen to my voice and my seat… Every time he is like 'Oh mum, I'm not a 100% sure', I just give him a pat and he just relaxes. To have that power over him, he's just so genuine and he really does listen to everything I ask of him, he is amazing.”

After delivering a graceful, controlled performance in the morning she had to wait and watch her fellow competitors try to beat her score, but they couldn’t manage it and so she took her place at the top of the podium between her friend, Britta Napel and Angelika Trabert – both of Germany. There was lot of high-fiving and hugging after the medals were presented, showing how these athletes maintain strong friendships while simultaneously being fierce rivals in the field of competition.

Picture Credit: Rex Features