On 23 February The Wheelwrights, The Farriers, Riding for the Disabled (RDA) riders, drivers, and volunteers, and Sophie’s ‘Gold Club’ members were treated to an inspirational evening with Sophie Christiansen. The Master of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights, David Mortlock commented “Sophie’s Interview by Chris Roche really helped us to better understand the key factors that have led to her success in Paralympic dressage and in life generally. The main things that struck me were her ability to overcome adversity, being disciplined but adaptable, the importance of team working and helping others. Sophie captivated the 60 or so attendees and I am pleased that the evening raised almost £700 towards her funding”,
Including Sophie’s historic Gold Medal appearance at the London Paralympics, Sophie brought us up to date with her story since the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Sophie has built a new team, and is working with two horses, Die Furstin (Stella) and Innuendo III (Louie), training them up to qualify for selection for the Tokyo games.
Sophie has also founded the Gold Club, which allows members an inside scoop on her progress in representing Great Britain at world competitions at home and abroad.
There followed a wide ranging Q & A where Sophie fielded questions such as how her fitness training for her sport differs from her exercises for her cerebral palsy. A highlight of the evening was when a 12 year RDA rider from Cobbes Meadow group in Canterbury was introduced personally to Sophie and then asked his question using the skills he had gained at school with Zoom.
With our Farrier guests in mind, Sophie explained that her horses wear wide webbed long shoes (continental). They are wider to stop the horse sinking into the surface. Stella also has lateral extensions to try and stabilise the foot for longer. They always wear overreach boots in the field to stop them pulling the shoes off as they are big moving horses.
As a disability campaigner, Sophie has hit the headlines numerous times – most memorably when she was unable to leave the train on her return from work in Canary Wharf due to a lack of staff at the station to put a ramp in place for her mobility scooter. More recently, Sophie has tweeted about prioritizing Covid vaccines for people with disabilities
“We were so excited to hear from Sophie and listen to her awesome all inspiring story. Our dream is to win that first rosette in a dressage competition one day” was the reaction from one guest.
Sophie is pictured in the second row down and the second screen in.
What a fantastic example she is to us all and such a lovely sense of humour too. On behalf of the Wheelwrights and all who attended our Zoom event I wish Sophie every success in the Paralympics, getting more ‘Gold Club’ members and settling into her new home, “ commented the Master of the Wheelwrights, David Mortlock.
If you would like to know more about Sophie’s Gold Club go to https://www.sophiechristiansen.co.uk/