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NZ’s WEG para-equestrian en route to France

Anthea Dixon and Doncartier in action in Belgium earlier this year.

Anthea Dixon and Doncartier in action in Belgium earlier this year. © photoevenement.be/ESNZ

New Zealand’s sole para-dressage rider at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games leaves for Europe on Sunday.

Canterbury rider Anthea Dixon, 32, is the nation’s first para-equestrian rider to compete at the World Equestrian Games.

The London Paralympian is looking forward to being reunited with her horse Doncartier (owned by Australian Bella Robson) and getting into the final run of training before competing.

Dixon will head straight to Stuttgart in Germany where she will base between trainer Hayley Beresford’s two stables.

“I am excited to get back to Don and making it all happen,” she said. “We will be focusing on the quality of our work when we get there … and making a few tweaks to our freestyle test.”

Robson, who is Dixon’s main trainer, has been keeping Don “ticking over” in her absence.

“It’s great for Bella to have her best boy on the world stage.”

Dixon has been watching with interest the scores from the top para dressage competitors she is likely to come up against at the world champs in France later this month.

“There’s been no real surprises really,” she says. “It is the same four or five who are at the top tier and my goal is to be amongst them. It is definitely achievable … there’s not a lot in it.”

Dixon says she is incredibly lucky to have such a solid team behind her – groom Jenny Affleck, Robson, Beresford and assistant groom Jessica Brechin.

“Having that trust and confidence in the team lets me focus on what I need to do,” she says.

“It is all so unbelievable how it has all come together – to have an opportunity like this and have everything work … I just hope it continues right through.”

Dixon heads to France on August 22. She is hopeful of catching up with New Zealand’s vaulting team, who are based not far from her in Germany for their pre-champs build-up.

 

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