An evening with Natasha Baker MBE by Charlie Bristow

On the 3rd of March, the double gold medal winning, Paralympic dressage rider Natasha Baker MBE paid a visit to the University of Surrey and told her inspirational story. Natasha, who is a grade two para-equestrian, spoke at length about her passion for the sport, and how that passion had spurred on from being a little girl with a dream, to winning 5 European Champion titles and then on to even greater heights, with 2 gold medal wins and record

breaking scores at the 2012 London Paralympics. Natasha’s love for her partners in these victories, the horses who had both taught her and won alongside her, was beautifully evident as she shared photos of Charlie, Woody, JP and Sooki. Despite her busy schedule, Natasha gladly humoured the assembly’s curiosity, taking questions and staying to chat once the talk was over.

The talk was graciously hosted at the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine, whose new school packed with amazing facilities, was opened this academic year. The talk was organised by the University of Surrey’s Equestrian Club, who have been hard at work themselves all year. Both the society’s competitive A and B teams have been taking home fistfuls of ribbons from the BUCS competitions, and the talk was a welcome re-injection of inspiration. Natasha also spoke about the importance of feed when maintaining a healthy and competitive horse during her talk, and Saracens, who were sponsoring the event, were on-site all evening to reinforce that importance and answer any questions on equine nutrition.

With no signs of stopping here, Natasha is currently on the Road to Rio, with team selections just around the corner and a year full of competitions to get her there. She spoke

encouragingly of the competitiveness of the sport, and with thinking of it, to have dreams as big as she did.